Archives par étiquette : grammaticalization

Séminaire EMMA, On the status of obligatorification in defining grammaticalization, Eric Mélac, mardi 6 décembre 2022, 18h

Obligatoriness is often presented as an essential property of the grammar of a language (Boas 1959: 492). Some languages are claimed to possess a grammatical category because it is encoded by ‘obligatory’ markers, such as number in English, gender in Spanish, evidentiality in Quechua, etc. (Athanasopoulos & Kasai 2008, Lew-Williams & Fernald 2007, Aikhenvald 2007). Obligatorification also is often considered one of the definitory processes of grammaticalization, even though Lehmann (1995) stated that its importance should not be overemphasized (Lehmann 1995[1982]: 123-128; see also McGregor 2013). The relative obligatoriness of the subject in German, be+V-ing in English, or a gender suffix in a Romance language cannot be analysed as one phenomenon.
This epistemological study will review what is usually meant by obligatoriness, and to what extent forms may grammaticalize without acquiring this property (Heine & Kuteva 2007: 34). Basing myself on a critical analysis of theoretical works and first-hand cross-linguistic data, I will argue that obligatoriness is a cover term which may only be investigated by distinguishing three levels, i.e. morpho-syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. For the first two levels, the constraint may be intra-paradigmatic or extra-paradigmatic (Lehmann 1995[1982]: 123-128). Furthermore, the degree of systematization of a notion may determine how obligatory this grammatical category is in a given language.
This review will lead me to delve into the causes of obligatorification, which might appear contradictory to the principle of economy as one of the main motivators of grammaticalization (Gelderen 2004). I will argue that chunking, zero grammaticalization, and the Gricean maxim of quantity are necessary concepts to explain how a form may obligatorify (Ellis 2003, Bybee 1994, Grice 1975).

Colloque Evidentiality and Modality: at the Crossroads of Grammar and Lexicon – 10-11th June 2021

10-11TH JUNE 2021
The number of publications on evidentiality has seen an exponential rise since Aikhenvald’s monograph in 2004, and the term of evidentiality has been slowly making its way into grammar textbooks. Its relationship with the notion of epistemic modality is complex and still under discussion (Cornillie 2007, Boye 2010, Tournadre 2016, Guentchéva, ed., 2018). Some consider that the two notions are clearly separated: Aikhenvald (2004), de Haan (1999) and Nuyts (2001). Others posit that epistemic modality is a sub-category of evidentiality: Papafragou (2000), Ifantidou (2001), even though earlier work described epistemic modality as a supercategory encompassing evidentiality: Anderson (1986), Palmer (1986) and Willett (1988) inter alia. Several authors have also revealed how evidentiality interacts with other central grammatical domains, such as tense, aspect, person and polarity, but a thorough description of these ramifications needs more cross-linguistic investigation.
According to Aikhenvald, evidentiality is first and foremost a grammatical category that can be found in some of the world’s languages, whereas other researchers consider evidentiality a universal semantic or pragmatic concept (Boye & Harder 2009, Cornillie, Arrese & Wiemer 2015 inter alia). There is no denying that some languages have a distinctly more grammaticalized evidential system than others, but the research on grammaticalization has also established that drawing a line between what is grammatical and what is lexical in a language depends on several criteria that are open to discussion. Grammaticalisation theory has shed light on the non-discreteness and non-binarity of the grammar/lexicon distinction, and on the fact that languages around the world tend to develop grammatical forms from lexical sources which gradually travel comparable paths (Heine & Kuteva 2002 inter alia). More crosslinguistic research is necessary in order to place the evidential and modal markers of the world’s languages on the lexicon-grammar continuum, and therefore reveal the recurrent patterns that can be observed in languages with emerging evidential systems.
Keynote speakers
Alexandra Aikhenvald (Central Queensland University)
Bernd Heine (Köln University)
Jan Nuyts (University of Antwerp)
Nicolas Tournadre (Université Aix-Marseille, Lacito, IUF)
Organization Committee
Eric Mélac (Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3, EMMA)
Pascale Leclercq (Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3, EMMA)
Jacques Brès (Université Paul Valéry – Montpellier 3, Praxiling)
Eric Corre (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Prismes)
Nicolas Tournadre (Université d’Aix-Marseille, Lacito et IUF)

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