Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


One areal feature of East and Southeast Asian languages is the grammaticalization of an augmentative-diminutive pair from the nominals ‘mother’ and ‘child’, respectively (Matisoff 1992). Many Sino-Tibetan languages further grammaticalize noun-class affixes from these kinship nominals, adding a parallel ‘father’ analogy in the process. Some Tibeto-Burman (TB) languages further grammaticalize the resulting kinship trio into numeral classifiers and lexical and clausal nominalizers. This paper presents evidence from the Ngwi branch of Burmic demonstrating a novel, yet parallel, polygrammaticalization process involving ‘youth’ (from TB *lak) as an analogous lexical source. Data from 30 languages inform a gradient reconstruction of two integrated, parallel clines: a nominal suffix series, YOUTH > SPROUT > SLENDER > OBLONG > GENERIC, complemented by a numeral classifier series, YOUTH(S) > AFFINAL KIN > CONSANGUINEAL KIN > NARROW > GENERIC. Both paths underlie the emergence of a collectivizing clausal nominalizer. The results support an emerging consensus: Analogy, automation and diagrammatic causation are irreducibly interdependent components of grammaticalization.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text 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