What did 18th-century grammarians know about grammaticalisation? Notes on the early history of a current idea: Frank Polzenhagen
What did 18th-century grammarians know about grammaticalisation? Notes on the early history of a current idea
Frank Polzenhagen (Heidelberg)
In my paper,1 I address the topic of the present volume, i.e. cognitive explorations into metaphor and metonymy, from a history-of-ideas perspective. Rather than analysing actual instances of metaphor and metonymy, I am concerned with the recognition these two phenomena have received in scientific considerations on language and thought. My immediate object of enquiry is the early history of research into what is now referred to as “grammaticalisation” in modern linguistics.
Grammaticalisation has come to be an en vogue notion over the last two decades, and one can hardly keep pace with the numerous publications under this heading. This new interest in grammaticalisation was initiated in the 1970s by linguists like Givón (e.g. 1971, 1979)2 and gained momentum in the 1980s and early 1990s, in particular through the work of Lehmann (e.g. 1982), Heine and his colleagues (e.g. Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer 1991), Sweetser (1988, 1990) and Hopper and Traugott (1993), to name just a few key authors. Their approaches have brought the notion of grammaticalisation from the realm of historical linguistics, where it had had an established place for a long time, to the attention of the “broader” linguistic circles. With Deutscher’s (2005) best-selling “popular linguistics” book The Unfolding of Language, it has even been successfully spread to the wider non-specialist public.
Most strands in modern linguistics are...