This chapter is a detailed study of the directional preferences of primitive changes at several linguistic levels. It explores the notion of irreversibility and discusses desemanticization, decategorialization, univerbation, phonological and phonetic attrition, and subjectification. It shows that directional tendencies are strongest in semantic-pragmatic change, but that even here exceptions can be observed. It also provides a survey of both usage-based, psycholinguistic and generative explanations of directional tendencies, arguing that usage-based and psycholinguistic approaches are best equipped to account for such tendencies.
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