Variation in (Sub)standard language
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Abstract. Recent research has pointed out that certain grammaticalization phenomena originate in substandard varieties and/or colloquial speech styles. However, the potential of insights to be gained from relating grammaticalization and sociolinguistics still remains largely unexplored. The present paper is an attempt at such an approach, discussing grammaticalization processes in contemporary German youth language (Jugendsprache). On a word formation level, the paper deals with nominal and verbal formatives, denominal conversions, and the use of verb stems as lexical morphemes. Syntactic phenomena include the development of the non-inflected negative null and a new intensifier word order pattern. After highlighting the relevant grammaticalization mechanisms for each of these patterns, the paper discusses the relation between slang creation and grammaticalization, emphasizing the role of expressivity as a discourse-pragmatic motivation for linguistic innovations. Finally, the paper draws attention to connections between youth specific language varieties and language change, and tries to account for the fact that some grammaticalization processes in substandard varieties never reach their potential end point.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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