Edited by Kristin Davidse
[Functions of Language 23:1] 2016
► pp. 40–59
New views on pathways and mechanisms of grammaticalization in the English noun phrase
In this paper we report on a historical corpus study of English multiple, an adjective which underwent a process of grammaticalization starting from lexical uses with the meaning ‘composite’, e.g. HR 3617 is a multiple star, to grammaticalized uses as individualizer, paraphrasable as ‘different’, e.g. She has to perform multiple tasks at the same time, and as quantifier ‘several’, e.g. I have multiple friends in high society. Multiple is just one of several adjectives going down this path of grammaticalization. However, as we show in this paper, the trajectory of each adjective includes different micro-processes of change. New diachronic case studies on the grammaticalization of individual items thus remain crucial to further advancing our understanding of the potential environments and changes underlying grammaticalization processes. The case of multiple shows that, firstly, not only attributes, but also classifiers can serve as input for grammaticalization, and that, secondly, grammaticalization and lexicalization processes can have non-adjacent functions in the noun phrase as their input and output.
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