Volume 39, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This study explores the typological regularity of semantic change in grammaticalization and lexicalization in Chinese and Germanic languages. Earlier studies, mostly done on Indo-European languages (e.g. Heine et al. 1991, Traugott & Dasher 2002), suggest that semantic change follows the cline A>A, B>B. Based on numerous case studies of semantic change in grammaticalization and lexicalization in Chinese, this paper provides evidence that semantic change in Chinese follows a somewhat different pattern: A>A, B>A,B,C. The key factors responsible for this, as it will be argued, are twofold: Chinese grammar is typologically structured without inflections and Chinese words have become increasingly disyllabic. Indo-European languages, which exhibit quite different grammatical and morphological structures and diachronic evolution, therefore show a different tendency.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): grammaticalization; lexicalization; semantic change; typology
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