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Although there are quite a few monographs on grammaticalization theory published in last 20 years beginning with Lehmann , WLG seems to be the first comprehensive reference work listing hundreds of grammaticalization paths with examples from half a thousand languages. In fact, it was Bernd Heine who promoted the compilation of a lexicon of grammaticalization already at the beginning of the ''grammaticalization renaissance'' in early s. Nine years later a ''Lexicon of grammaticalization processes in African languages'' Heine et al.

However, WLG which is published nine more years later includes data on a still wider range of languages and provides useful comments about individual paths of change, which were absent in the earlier version.

World Lexicon of Grammaticalization

At the same time, it seems that not all the data from Heine et al. As WLG was conceived just as a reference work, with the main purpose to collect the information available from other sources, it does not contain a general discussion of results -- like relative frequency of different paths or groups of paths , or preferences of these or those types of changes in particular languages, etc. However, on the basis of data available from WLG, the reader can make his or her own conclusions about such matters.

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To give an idea about relative frequency of different sources and targets I would like to present here some results of my counts based on the summarizing lists of processes in the Appendixes. As it was mentioned before and as it is stated by the authors themselves on p. The ''Top 12'' that follows shows which source items are the most frequent, according to WLG. So, if we speak about most widely used primary, i. Another list which I made up comprises top 15 targets, i. However, that does not mean that the list presented in WLG is by any means exhaustive.

World Lexicon of Grammaticalization

It is very hard, of course, to conjecture what part of all the possible -- or at least the most frequent -- paths is covered in the book 90 percent, or 50, or 30? But it is obvious that this number can, and should be, increased. Much more grammaticalization paths for motion verbs can be listed; many of them are described in Maisak , a study based on data from more than languages.

A brief discussion of possible changes of EAT to grammatical marker -- on p. Absence of mention of the development of negative particles from nouns like in case of French ''pas'' or ''point'' in ''ne The authors of the Lexicon are certainly aware of the fact that ''what is covered in the book might represent merely the tip of the iceberg of what future generations of researches might discover'' p.

CH4 lexicogrammar

Already in the Introduction, they admit that the data presented in WLG ''constitute but a fraction of all instances of presumed or actual grammaticalization that we were confronted with'' p. The present work of Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva cannot be overestimated, because as it was already stated above it is a unique and comprehensive lexicon of grammaticalization phenomena with numerous examples and comments compiled so far.

My most strong wish is that this Lexicon should be developed further, as a great number of grammatical changes is still to be revealed and described.

World Lexicon of Grammaticalization

I think the best way to continue this project would be to make it open to additions and corrections from specialists on particular languages. It becomes especially obvious when one sees that a considerable number of examples appear in the book with reference to ''personal communication'' of many people and to comments of ''anonymous reviewers'' of Cambridge University Press.

I do not know whether the authors plan to realize their Lexicon in a computer database format and to make it accessible on the Web, but that seems to be the best way for a wide circle of linguists interested in grammaticalization phenomena to make their contributions to WLG in an interactive manner. There are quite a few of such comments, but they by no means detract from the merits of this book.

I also hope that the notes which follow might be of some use in a new edition.

The authors certainly adopt the view that processes of grammatical change usually concern not just lexemes as such, but ''more complex conceptual entities, such as phrases, whole propositions or even larger constructions'' p. Nevertheless, there are many cases where this has not been done. I agree that it is certainly easier for referential purposes to cite lexeme e. However, I think that if a grammatical marker develops from this primary source, at least the following kinds of information should be indicated: a what class of words does it modify; b what other elements, if any, are involved in the construction; c what form does the modified meaningful word take -- if it is a part of a verbal periphrastic form, for example, then is it a participle with some aspectual value: perfective, imperfective, etc.

Information of a - b type is always present in WLG, although c -- sometimes, and d -- almost always -- are absent. Of course, the authors of the book should not be blamed for such cases, as it is obvious that the available sources of information may lack the necessary data or contain vague formulations or inaccuracies; but I think that in general all four parameters a - d should be included in the format of description maybe even in the format of the entry's heading. There are some grammaticalization paths which look similar, though this similarity is not commented upon in the text, and sometimes the criteria for differentiating the paths are not quite clear.

Because of this, the similarity of all these paths is obscured, though in fact all the sources listed above are rather realizations of the single Location Schema mentioned on p. It is also not quite clear why, e. The relationship between an abstract meaning label for a source lexeme and its real meaning in particular language in not always clear. For example, there are cases where several translational equivalents are given for a language-specific lexeme, but one of the meaning seems to be chosen as the ''basic'' one.

Pragmatic inference is of central importance for initiating processes of grammaticalization and maybe also at later stages , and it activates mechanisms like reanalysis and analogy, whose status is controversial in the literature. In situations of contact, the existence of a certain grammatical category may induce grammaticalization in another language. On c : Even though it is hard to measure degrees of grammaticalization in terms of absolute and exact figures, it is possible to determine relative degrees of grammaticalization in terms of the autonomy of linguistic signs.

In spite of these findings, there are still quite a number of questions that need further research. Two questions to be discussed address basic issues concerning the overall properties of grammaticalization. In the more traditional view, constructions are seen as the syntactic framework within which linguistic items are grammaticalized. In more recent approaches based on construction grammar, constructions are defined as combinations of form and meaning.

Thus, grammaticalization can be seen in the light of constructionalization, i. Even though constructionalization covers many apects of grammaticalization, it does not exhaustively cover the domain of grammaticalization. There is evidence from East and mainland Southeast Asia that there is cross-linguistic variation to some extent.

World Lexicon of grammaticalization - University Of Pikeville

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