1887

Word-Order Change as a Source of Grammaticalisation

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Abstract

This book presents a new perspective on the interaction between word-order and grammaticalisation by investigating the changes that stylistic fronting and oblique subjects have undergone in Romance (Catalan, French, Spanish) as compared to Germanic (English, Icelandic). It discusses a great deal of historical comparative data showing that stylistic fronting and oblique subjects have (had) a semantic effect in the Germanic and in the Romance languages, and that they both appear in the same functional category. The loss of stylistic fronting and oblique subjects is seen as an effect of grammaticalisation, where grammaticalisation is taken to be a regular case of parameter change. In contrast to previous and recent approaches to grammaticalisation, however, the author shows that it is not the loss of morphology that triggers grammaticalisation with subsequent word-order changes, but that the word-order change sets off grammaticalisation in the functional categories, which is then followed by the loss of morphology.

Subjects: Generative linguistics; Historical linguistics; Theoretical linguistics; Syntax

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