Grammatical polysemy and grammaticalization in cognitive and generative perspectives: Finding common ground in inter-generational corpora of ancient languages
Cognitive and generative approaches to linguistics have taken a different perspective on grammatical polysemy and grammaticalization. While the former see polysemy as a core characteristic of language and a necessary result of grammaticalization within idiolects, the latter see it as a less interesting phenomenon peripheral to linguistics proper. Grammaticalization is seen as a phenomenon of language acquisition which does not disturb the homogeneity of idiolects. These differing perspectives have generated much debate between the two approaches and are even in large part responsible for the different programmatic focuses of each. While the disagreement over grammatical polysemy between these two approaches to language is rooted in entrenched commitments on each side that are perhaps irreconcilable, at least some common ground does seem to be possible. Specifically, when it comes to inter-generational corpora, it seems that both cognitive and generative approaches to linguistics can agree that the universal phenomenon of grammaticalization would result in polysemy at least at the language community level. This can serve as a common ground on which both generative and cognitive linguists can join efforts in describing and explaining usage profiles of grammatically polysemous forms at the corpus level according to prototypicality, even if disagreement persists on the nature of the idiolect.2
Keywords: polysemy, polyfunctionality, grammaticalization, cognitive linguistics, generative linguistics, corpus linguistics, ancient languages
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).