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Grammaticalization and Parametric Variation$
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Montserrat Batllori, Maria-Lluïsa Hernanz, Carme Picallo, and Francesc Roca

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272129

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272129.001.0001

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Reanalysis and Conservancy of Structure in Chinese

Reanalysis and Conservancy of Structure in Chinese

(p.82) 6 Reanalysis and Conservancy of Structure in Chinese
Grammaticalization and Parametric Variation



Oxford University Press

The relegation of syntactic variation to lexical features under the Minimalist Programme has led to a growing awareness that syntactic change should be characterized in the same way: by changes in the discrete features of individual lexical items. This insight has given rise to the following distinctively minimalist typology of syntactic change: (a) loss or gain of a feature driving movement; (b) grammaticalization as shift ‘up the tree’ to a functional category; and (c) reanalysis as relabelling: lexical items change categorial or projection ([±max, ±min]) features under preservation of hierarchical (c-command) relations. This chapter applies this typology to several well-known examples of syntactic change in Chinese. It shows that earlier analyses exaggerate the scope of syntactic change in the long-documented history of Chinese languages. The changes that are in fact attested can be characterized as featural change, without rearrangement of hierarchical structure.

Keywords:   syntactic change, Chinese language, featural change, structural change

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