Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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This article critically assesses probabilistic predictions on the theory of contact-induced grammaticalization of the comitative-instrumental polysemy in those Slavic languages which have had a history of long and intense interaction with either German or Italian. Having provided extensive dialectal data, I argue instead that there are no grounds for positing a direct correlation between the introduction of the comitative preposition to instrumental in “high-contact” Slavic languages and the history of language contact with German or Italian. I propose to distinguish between the grammaticalization of the comitative-instrumental polysemy due to analytic simplification and the grammaticalization of the instrumental-comitative polysemy due to synthetic simplification. The comitative marking for instrumentals in Slavic is likely to develop in places of prolonged multilingual contacts, not necessarily with German or Italian. Under these conditions one can predict the development of convergent analytic features in closely related or even areally contingent languages (dialects), as is the case of the Circum-Baltic area.


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