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Lexicalization and Language Change
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  • Page extent: 220 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.483 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521833103 | ISBN-10: 0521833108)

Lexicalization, a process of language change, has been conceptualized in a variety of ways. Broadly defined as the adoption of concepts into the lexicon, it has been viewed by syntacticians as the reverse process of grammaticalization, by morphologists as a routine process of word-formation, and by semanticists as the development of concrete meanings. In this up-to-date survey, Laurel Brinton and Elizabeth Traugott examine the various conceptualizations of lexicalization that have been presented in the literature. In light of contemporary work on grammaticalization, they then propose a new, unified model of lexicalization and grammaticalization. Their approach is illustrated with a variety of case studies from the history of English, including present participles, multi-word verbs, adverbs, and discourse markers, as well as some examples from other Indo-European languages. The first review of the various approaches to lexicalization, this book will be invaluable to students and scholars of historical linguistics and language change.

• The first ever review of the various approaches to lexicalization that have been presented in the literature • Proposes a brand new, unified approach to lexicalization and grammaticalization • Draws on a wealth of data from the history of English


1. Contexts for the study of lexicalization and grammaticalization; 2. Lexicalization: definitions and viewpoints; 3. The relation of lexicalization to grammaticalization; 4. Towards an integrated approach to lexicalization and grammaticalization; 5. Case studies; 6. Conclusion and research questions.


'… very clearly structured. … Brinton and Traugott's book represents a major contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the relationship between grammaticalization and lexicalization, and their role in language change. It not only provides a complete survey of previous approaches in a systematic way but also offers a new integrated model that is applied to some of the most controversial instances of linguistic change in the history of English, with a perspective on comparable changes cross-linguistically. The extensive list of references is an invaluable source of information about the wide variety of studies within this field of language change. The book is marked by an admirable clarity and vividness and will thus be extremely useful not only for experts in the field, but also for students trying to find an orientation in matters of language change.' Folia Linguistica

'… an effective reference not only for those interested in lexicalization considered diachronically, but also for studies on word-formation or idiomaticity … highly recommendable … will probably be often quoted in the future as a valid summary of what lexicalization means in modern linguistics.' Canadian Journal of Linguistics

'As the fourth book in a new series by Cambridge University Press called Research Surveys in Linguistics, Lexicalization and Language Change by Laurel J. Brinton and Elizabeth Closs Traugott promises an up-to-date survey of literature on lexicalization. But the book is much more than that. Not only does it discuss relevant previous and current work, present case studies and give directions for further research, but it even provides us with the authors' unified model of lexicalization and grammaticalization. … An extensive bibliography and two indices (of subjects and of words and forms) round off the book, which is an important contribution to the field of lexicalization and grammaticalization studies.' Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen

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