What is Contact Induced Grammaticalization
Posted: Feb 13, 2017
Contact induced grammaticalization is presnetly one of the hot topics of linguistics and every linguist should at least have an idea about what it means. By writing this article, I hope to help you with that and provide with a simple and brief explanation on this particular topic in grammaticalizaion in languages. First, let us see what grammaticalizion is.
Grammaticalizion is a process through which a lexical part of speech becomes a grammatical part of speech. As you know languages are not just like rocks that stand for millenia. They change and often they are reinvented and become completely new languages with characteristics quite different from what they used to be. Grammaticalization is one of the key processes that go on during this change. Let us now give you more detail.
A lexical part of speech is a noun, and adjective, a verb or any other word that actually means something. A grammatical part of speech on the end is a word or part of word that means nothing on its own. Yet, this unit can put together with lexical words to create meaning. For instances verbal congugation suffixes are grammatical units. They are not really the name of anything in the universe but they tell us when an action takes place. Another example is the adposition. You should have heard about prepositions because they are so common in English. Well, there are also postpositions and altogether they are called adpositions. We all know that adpositions are not nouns or verbs. If you just utter an adposition with no other word, it would mean nothing. Yet, speakers of any language need adpositions to create decent sentences. Adpositions are integral to understanding grammaticalization because they are one part of speech that is most frequently grammaticalized from nouns. What is more interesting is that languages that are in contact sometimes copy this path of grammaticalization from each other and create the similar adpositions from nouns with similar meanings. This is an example of contact induced grammaticalization.
Such contact induced grammaticalization can be seen in adpositions derived from nouns in Iranian Languages. These are languages that ar closely related and it seems contact continued after thet broke off form one another and they all have similar adpositions derived from cognate nouns.
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