Network Core Mechanisms of Exponence

Gabelentz, Georg von der (1891)


Georg von der Gabelentz was one of the first scholars to offer a concrete explanation of why languages undergo grammaticalisation and thus derive morphology. He proposes that grammaticalisation is the result of two competing forces in the languages of the world, one being the tendency towards ease of articulation, the other the tendency towards distinctness: lazy pronunciation brings about sound changes that wear down words, therefore distinctions consequently become blurred. To maintain distinctiveness, new forms take over the approximate function of the old forms in a way similar to that of the isolating languages He sees grammaticalisation as a cyclic process, observing that the new forms that have stepped in to take over the function of the old ones are again subject to the processes of semantic bleaching and phonetic reduction and will again be replaced. He notes that the process of creation of grammatical categories is recurrent.

authorGabelentz, Georg von der
titleGabelentz, Georg von der


    author = {Gabelentz, Georg von der},
    year = {1891},
    title = {Gabelentz, Georg von der},
    address = {Leipzig},
    publisher = {Weigel},
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