Grammaticalization and conversation

Elizabeth Couper‐Kuhlen

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 conversation

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  • Linguistics
  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics



This article analyses the relation between conversation and grammaticalisation. It argues that what is on one occasion accomplished via a succession of actions can, on other occasions, be collapsed into a single speaker's turn. It discusses three case studies from present-day English conversation to substantiate this argument. It contends that a path of grammaticalisation from vertical to horizontal development like those hypothesized for Left dislocation, concession, and extraposition can be all the more plausible when we consider that there is evidence of a similar development for other bipartite structures such as conditionals and Right dislocations.

Keywords: conversation; grammaticalisation; action; single speaker; present-day English; Left dislocation; concession; extraposition; bipartite structures

Article.  4806 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Historical and Diachronic Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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