Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8722
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8730
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper addresses the question of the (speaker-level) ‘cognitive how’ of (language-level) constructional attrition, defined as a systemic decrease in the occurrence of a construction in the history of a language. Presenting and analysing data from an historical idiolectal corpus on the frequency development in individual speakers’ use of a partially schematic construction instantiated by such types as and , it offers a first attempt to measure whether a general decline in the frequency of this construction can also be observed to be an internal development during a speaker’s lifespan. The results confirm this to be the case in a sizeable group of speakers and the paper provides an initial insight into how this may contribute to a genuinely cognitive account of the speaker-external development.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Anthonissen, L.
    (2020) Cognition in construction grammar: Connecting individual and community grammars. Cognitive Linguistics, 31(2), 309–337. 10.1515/cog‑2019‑0023
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2019-0023 [Google Scholar]
  2. Barðdal, J., Smirnova, E., Sommerer, L., & Gildea, S.
    (Eds.) 2015Diachronic Construction Grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cal.18
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cal.18 [Google Scholar]
  3. Barlow, M.
    (2013) Individual differences and Usage-based Grammar. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 18(4): 443–478. 10.1075/ijcl.18.4.01bar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.18.4.01bar [Google Scholar]
  4. Bergs, A.
    (2005) Social networks and historical sociolinguistics: Studies in morphosyntactic variation in the Paston Letters (1421–1503). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110923223
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110923223 [Google Scholar]
  5. Colleman, T., & Noël, D.
    (2012) The Dutch evidential NCI: A case of constructional attrition. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 13(1), 1–28. 10.1075/jhp.13.1.01col
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jhp.13.1.01col [Google Scholar]
  6. Dąbrowska, E.
    (2012) Different speakers, different grammars: Individual differences in native language attainment. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 2(3), 219–253. 10.1075/lab.2.3.01dab
    https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.2.3.01dab [Google Scholar]
  7. (2016) Cognitive Linguistics’ seven deadly sins. Cognitive Linguistics, 27(4), 479–491. 10.1515/cog‑2016‑0059
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2016-0059 [Google Scholar]
  8. De Smet, H.
    (2016) How gradual change progresses: The interaction between convention and innovation. Language Variation and Change, 28(1). 83–102. 10.1017/S0954394515000186
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394515000186 [Google Scholar]
  9. (2020) What predicts productivity? Theory meets individuals. Cognitive Linguistics, 31(2), 251–278. 10.1515/cog‑2019‑0026
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2019-0026 [Google Scholar]
  10. Disney, S.
    (2016) Another visit to be supposed to from a diachronic constructionist perspective. English studies, 97(8), 892–916. 10.1080/0013838X.2016.1206333
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2016.1206333 [Google Scholar]
  11. Kranich, S., & Breban, T.
    (Eds.) (2021) Lost in change: Causes and processes in the loss of grammatical elements and constructions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.218
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.218 [Google Scholar]
  12. Labov, W.
    (1994) Principles of linguistic change. Volume 1: Internal factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Nevalainen, T., Raumolin-Brunberg, H., & Mannila, H.
    (2011) The diffusion of language change in real time: Progressive and conservative individuals and the time depth of change. Language Variation and Change, 23(1), 1–43. 10.1017/S0954394510000207
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394510000207 [Google Scholar]
  14. Noël, D.
    (2008) The nominative and infinitive in Late Modern English: A diachronic constructionist approach. Journal of English Linguistics, 36(4), 314–340. 10.1177/0075424208321750
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424208321750 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2016) For a radically usage-based diachronic construction grammar. Belgian Journal of Linguistics, 30(1), 39–53. 10.1075/bjl.30.03noe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bjl.30.03noe [Google Scholar]
  16. (2017) The development of non-deontic be bound to in a radically usage-based diachronic construction grammar perspective. Lingua, 199, 72–93. 10.1016/j.lingua.2017.07.012
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2017.07.012 [Google Scholar]
  17. (2019) The decline of the Deontic nci construction in Late Modern English: Towards a radically usage-based perspective on constructional attrition. Cognitive Linguistic Studies, 6(1), 22–57. 10.1075/cogls.00029.noe
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cogls.00029.noe [Google Scholar]
  18. Noël, D., & Colleman, T.
    (2021) Diachronic construction grammar. InXu Wen & J. R. Taylor (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of cognitive linguistics (pp.662–675). London: Routledge. 10.4324/9781351034708‑44
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351034708-44 [Google Scholar]
  19. Petré, P.
    (2010) The functions of weorðan and its loss in the past tense in Old and Middle English. English Language and Linguistics, 14(3), 457–484. 10.1017/S1360674310000158
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674310000158 [Google Scholar]
  20. Petré, P. & Van de Velde, F.
    (2018) The real-time dynamics of the individual and the community in grammaticalization. Language, 94(4), 867–901. 10.1353/lan.2018.0056
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2018.0056 [Google Scholar]
  21. Raumolin-Brunberg, H.
    (2009) Lifespan changes in the language of three early modern gentlemen. InA. Nurmi, M. Nevala & M. Palander-Collin (Eds.), The Language of Daily Life in England (1400–1800) (pp.165–196). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.183.10rau
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.183.10rau [Google Scholar]
  22. Rudnicka, K.
    (2019) The statistics of obsolescence: Purpose subordinators in Late Modern English. Strasbourg/Basel/Freiburg: EUCOR – The European Campus/Universität Basel/Uni Freiburg.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Sankoff, G.
    (2005) Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in sociolinguistics. InU. Ammon, N. Dittmar, K. J. Mattheier & P. Trudgill (Eds.), Sociolinguistics: An international handbook of the science of language and society, vol.2. (pp.1002–1013). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110171488.2.7.1003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110171488.2.7.1003 [Google Scholar]
  24. Schmid, H.
    (2015) A blueprint of the Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization Model. Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, 3(1), 3–26. 10.1515/gcla‑2015‑0002
    https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2015-0002 [Google Scholar]
  25. (2020) The dynamics of the linguistic system: Usage, conventionalization, and entrenchment. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198814771.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198814771.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  26. Schmid, H., & Mantlik, A.
    (2015) Entrenchment in historical corpora? Reconstructing dead authors’ minds from their usage profiles. Anglia, 133(4), 583–623. 10.1515/ang‑2015‑0056
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2015-0056 [Google Scholar]
  27. Sommerer, L.
    (2020) Constructionalization, constructional competition and constructional death: investigating the demise of Old English POSS DEM constructions. InL. Sommerer, & E. Smirnova (Eds.), Nodes and networks: Advances in diachronic construction grammar (pp.70–103). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cal.27.02som
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cal.27.02som [Google Scholar]
  28. Tagliamonti, S. A., & D’Arcy, A.
    (2007) Frequency and variation in the community grammar: Tracking a new change through the generations. Language Variation and Change19, 199–217. 10.1017/S095439450707007X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S095439450707007X [Google Scholar]
  29. Traugott, E. C., & Trousdale, G.
    (2013) Constructionalization and constructional changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679898.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679898.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  30. Trousdale, G.
    (2008) Words and constructions in grammaticalization: The end of the English impersonal construction. InS. M. Fitzmaurice & D. Minkova (Eds.), Studies in the history of the English language IV: Empirical and analytical advances in the study of English language change (pp.301–326). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110211801.301
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110211801.301 [Google Scholar]
  31. Verhagen, V.
    (2019) Illuminating variation: Individual differences in entrenchment of multi-word units. Amsterdam: LOT (Landelijke Onderzoeksschool Taalwetenschap/ Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics).
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Verhagen, V., & Backus, A.
    (2010) Individual differences in the perception of entrenchment of multiword units: Evidence from a magnitude estimation task. Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen, 84/85(1), 155–165. 10.1075/ttwia.84‑85.16ver
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ttwia.84-85.16ver [Google Scholar]
  33. Wagner, S. E., & Sankoff, G.
    (2011) Age grading in the Montréal French inflected future. Language Variation and Change, 23(3), 275–313. 10.1017/S0954394511000111
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394511000111 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error