Publication details [#58237]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language


Within a non-reductionist emergence view, grammaticalization is the diachronic process whereby grammatical structure components become conventionalized. This view is well fitted for the discussion of the grammar-pragmatics link. Yet the complete picture is inevitably a panchronic one. For the aims of this paper, the research processes targeting grammaticalization are split into three major strands: one that focuses on semantic developments, one that comprises structural features, and one, -the most interesting in this context-, which implicates the rise of new features, recruited from pragmatic properties of language use. A core concept in this context is the notion of ‘pragmatic strengthening’. In Boye and Harder (2012), the authors proposed a theory of grammatical status and grammaticalization which enabled them to indicate specifically where grammaticalization and pragmatics connect. In terms of a comprehensive definition, grammaticalization is a subdomain of the area of linguistic conventions, and linked to one prevalent property of the pragmatics of language use, the role of discourse prominence, without any specifically favored pragmatics-grammaticalization interrelationship. In terms of the ‘outer circle’ definition, pragmatics is linked with grammaticalization, whilst a borderline area of non-lexical phenomena may either be left completely to Gricean pragmatics or may be assisted by conventional coding. The benefit of this proposal is that it does not seek to determine these phenomena in terms of particular meanings. Rather, it presumes the involvement of a generalized function. Any account of the specific issue of grammaticalization will concurrently have to inclose a comprehension of how structure is embedded in and surfaces out of the pragmatics of language use.