Syntactic Change: A Minimalist Approach to Grammaticalization
The phenomenon of grammaticalization - the historical process whereby new grammatical material is created - has attracted a great deal of attention within linguistics. This is an attempt to provide a general account of this phenomenon in terms of a formal theory of syntax. Using Chomsky’s Minimalist Program for linguistic theory, Roberts and Roussou show how this approach gives rise to a number of important conceptual and theoretical issues concerning the nature of functional categories and the form of parameters, as well as the relation of both of these to language change. Drawing on examples from a wide range of languages, they construct a general account of grammaticalization with implications for linguistic theory and language acquisition.
• First formal treatment of grammaticalisation • First book-length study of diachronic syntax using minimalism • Relates language to linguistic theory and language acquisition.