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8 - Grammaticalization in situations of extreme language contact

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Paul J. Hopper
Affiliation:
Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Closs Traugott
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
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Summary

Introduction

Most of the work on grammaticalization that we have discussed so far was conducted within the framework of a relatively monogenetic view of change. This approach arose out of a tradition that started with comparative linguistics and persisted in the very largely different context of generative grammar. However different they have been, nevertheless both of these traditions have idealized homogeneity of language and of transmission, whereas in fact most actual situations involve contact, at the minimum with speakers of other dialects, whether social, regional, or stylistic (see Weinreich, Labov, and Herzog 1968; Thomason and Kaufman 1988 for landmark studies of the consequences of heterogeneity for an understanding of how language changes).

We turn in this chapter to the question whether studies of contact situations raise special issues regarding grammaticalization (see also Heine and Kuteva 2002). We ignore situations of contact that entail only partial external influence on subparts of a linguistic system. One such situation is that of “borrowing,” which often involves extensive incorporation of foreign elements in only one or two areas of the language, typically the lexicon, with minimal influence elsewhere. Ordinarily the kinds of items borrowed are independent words and morphemes (Weinreich 1953), although very occasionally morphological paradigms may be borrowed (Thomason and Kaufman 1988: 20 cite the unusual case of Mednyi Aleut, with Russian finite-verb morphology but with other largely Aleut grammar and vocabulary).

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Grammaticalization , pp. 212 - 230
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2003

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