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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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Typological features of grammaticalization in Semitic

Typological features of grammaticalization in Semitic

(p.35) 3 Typological features of grammaticalization in Semitic
Grammaticalization from a Typological Perspective

Mohssen Esseesy

Oxford University Press

This study highlights some notable typological features of ancient and modern Semitic languages. It sheds light on a number of shared intragenetic similarities and parallels within Semitic in the processes and outcomes of grammaticalization. Specifically, it examines the emergence and evolution of prepositionals from certain body-part terms; the shift from synthetic towards more analytic possessive strategies; and independent personal pronouns becoming inherently bound agreement markers as prefixes and suffixes on the imperfective and perfective verb stems, respectively. Moreover, with supporting evidence from corpus data, this study argues for the primacy of third-person pronouns, which assume expanded grammatical functions as copulas, expletives, and discourse-related functions. Finally, this study draws attention to the sociolinguistic factors, such as native speakers’ attitudinal stance, which directly impinge on language change within the diglossic nature of Arabic, and calls for consideration of sociolinguistic factors in the study of language evolution by grammaticalization.

Keywords:   grammaticalization, Semitic, prepositionals, possessives, personal pronouns, copula, expletives

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