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Grammaticalization from a Typological Perspective$
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Heiko Narrog and Bernd Heine

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795841

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795841.001.0001

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Grammaticalization in isolating languages and the notion of complexity

Grammaticalization in isolating languages and the notion of complexity

Chapter:
(p.219) 11 Grammaticalization in isolating languages and the notion of complexity
Source:
Grammaticalization from a Typological Perspective
Author(s):

Umberto Ansaldo

Walter Bisang

Pui Yiu Szeto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198795841.003.0011

This chapter consists of four related arguments. We first review the claims about the nature of grammaticalization in isolating languages, specifically those of East and Mainland Southeast Asia (EMSEA); based on this, we present a view that suggests that grammaticalization is indeed a type-specific, or areal, phenomenon. Following on that, we propose that morphological elaboration is likewise type- or area-specific; and to conclude we discuss the significance of this in terms of language evolution. Our arguments lead us to posit that elaboration of morphological structure only happens in a certain type of languages, and cannot be taken as an overall diagnostic of age across the world?s languages. In other words, ‘mature’ linguistic phenomena are not necessarily morphologically complex, nor are all morphologically free languages ‘young’.

Keywords:   grammaticalization, Southeast Asia, areality, morphology, age, typology

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