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The Evolution of Grammar : Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World - Joan L. Bybee

The Evolution of Grammar

Tense, Aspect and Modality in the Languages of the World

Paperback Published: 1st January 1994
ISBN: 9780226086651
Number Of Pages: 420

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Joan Bybee and her colleagues present a new theory of the evolution of grammar that links structure and meaning in a way that directly challenges most contemporary versions of generative grammar. This study focuses on the use and meaning of grammatical markers of tense, aspect, and modality and identifies a universal set of grammatical categories. The authors demonstrate that the semantic content of these categories evolves gradually and that this process of evolution is strikingly similar across unrelated languages.
Through a survey of seventy-six languages in twenty-five different phyla, the authors show that the same paths of change occur universally and that movement along these paths is in one direction only. This analysis reveals that lexical substance evolves into grammatical substance through various mechanisms of change, such as metaphorical extension and the conventionalization of implicature. Grammaticization is always accompanied by an increase in frequency of the grammatical marker, providing clear evidence that language use is a major factor in the evolution of synchronic language states.
"The Evolution of Grammar" has important implications for the development of language and for the study of cognitive processes in general.

Figures and Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments
Theoretical Background
Method Used in the Study
Anterior, Perfective, and Related Senses
A Quantitative Approach to Grammaticization
Progressive, Imperfective, Present, and Related Senses
Mood and Modality
Mechanisms of Semantic Change
Gramcats Sampling Procedure
Meaning Labels
Sources of Language Data
Bibliography for Gramcats Sample
Author Index
Languages Index
Subject Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226086651
ISBN-10: 0226086658
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 420
Published: 1st January 1994
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.3  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.58
Edition Number: 2