On the relationship between subjectification, grammaticalisation and constructions
Evidence from the history of English
The terms subjectification, intersubjectification and construction are very often used in relation to grammaticalisation, although the relationship between them is not always clear. Subjectification is said to occur both within grammaticalisation and out of it. Constructions, in turn, have recently been found to play a key role in grammaticalisation, to the point that it is now generally accepted that before an item is grammaticalised the construction in which it appears will first develop a grammatical function. The relationship between construction and subjectification has not been addressed directly, even though an important number of the examples of subjectification found in the literature are explained in terms of constructions in which the subjectifying element occurs. This paper aims to shed more light on how subjectification, grammaticalisation and constructions are related in the history of English, by paying special attention to verbs and verbo-nominal expressions of necessity from Old to Early Modern English. The findings will show that, in these items, the interrelationship between subjectification and grammaticalisation is not direct; that subjectification need not be unidirectional; and that constructions involving necessity items are the source of subjectification.
Keywords: grammaticalisation, subjectification, modality, construction, unidirectionality, history of English
Published online: 02 July 2012
Cited by 3 other publications
Wong, May L-Y
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