Grammaticalization is a process of language change by which lexical items acquire grammatical function (e.g. GO in the English 'going to'-future). Beyond this basic definition grammaticalization entails processes on all levels - syntax, semantics, morphology, phonology - and is a typical pattern of change in all human languages. Consequently, grammaticalization research has contributed to discoveries of more general aspects of language change and grammar as such. It touches upon questions of how we use language, how we process it, and how it is represented in our minds.
This course covers the mechanisms involved in grammaticalization as well its various symptoms and side-effects. We will look into theories and case studies, and explore the scope and limits of the concept of grammaticalization within the field of linguistics.