Grammaticalization and linguistic Variation

Shana Poplack

in The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199586783
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Grammaticalization and linguistic Variation

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics


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This article examines the similarities and differences between grammaticalisation theory and variation theory (VT). It describes the variationist take on grammaticalisation and outlines some of the ways in which VT can contribute to grammaticalisation studies. It discusses the application of the variationist method to a paradigm example of grammaticalisation cross-linguistically and shows that this approach is particularly well-suited to tracking pathways of grammaticalisation, through its capacity to elucidate the transition period between endpoints of change.

Keywords: grammaticalisation theory; variation theory; grammaticalisation studies; variationist method; transition period; endpoints of change

Article.  5175 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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