Unity and diversity in grammaticalization scenarios

Walter Bisang   Andrej Malchukov  


The volume contains a selection of papers originally presented at the symposium on “Areal patterns of grammaticalization and cross-linguistic variation in grammaticalization scenarios” held on 12-14 March 2015 at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. The papers, written by leading scholars combining expertise in historical linguistics and grammaticalization research, study variation in grammaticalization scenarios in a variety of language families (Slavic, Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Bantu, Mande, "Khoisan", Siouan, and Mayan). The volume stands out in the vast literature on grammaticalization by focusing on variation in grammaticalization scenarios and areal patterns in grammaticalization. Apart from documenting new grammaticalization paths, the volume makes a methodological contribution as it addresses an important question of how to reconcile universal outcomes of grammaticalization processes with the fact that the input to these processes is language-specific and construction-specific.


  • Back again to the future: How to account for directionality in grammatical change
    Bernd Heine, Tania Kuteva, Heiko Narrog
  • The origin of comitative adverbs in Japhug
    Guillaume Jacques
  • Copulas originating from the imperative of ‘see/look’ verbs in Mande languages
    Denis Creissels
  • Multiple argument marking in Bantoid
    From syntheticity to analyticity
    Larry M. Hyman
  • Grammaticalization of participles and gerunds in Indo-Aryan: Preterite, future, infinitive
    Preterite, future, infinitive
    Annie Montaut
  • On the grammaticalization of demonstratives in Hoocąk und other Siouan languages
    Johannes Helmbrecht
  • Grammaticalization of tense/aspect/mood marking in Yucatec Maya
    Christian Lehmann
  • Diachrony and typology of Slavic aspect
    What does morphology tell us?
    Björn Wiemer, Ilja A. Seržant


  • Review in Diachronica by Martin Hilpert published February 10, 2020
    To come to an evaluation, Bisang and Malchukov have put together an impressive and highly useful collection of papers. The authors are leading experts on grammaticalization and the languages they are working on. Their contributions add up to an overview of grammaticalization pheonmena that covers an exceptionally broad array of language families and that provides insights into different grammatical categories. The main focus of the volume is on tense and aspect, but with contributions on argument marking, comitative adverbs, copulas and demonstrative pronouns, the scope is much wider than just verbal grammar. As such, the book is an excellent collection that represents the current state of the art in grammaticalization studies.



Walter Bisang, University of Mainz

Walter Bisang is Professor of General and Comparative Linguistics at the University of Mainz. He works on grammaticalization, linguistic contact and linguistic complexity. The combination of this research together with his findings on East and mainland Southeast Asian languages led him to the claim that grammaticalization is subject to cross-linguistic variation in terms of its properties as well as in terms of at least some pathways. His papers cover a wide range of phenomena, among them classifiers and classification, serial verb constructions, clause combining, finiteness, parts of speech, radical pro-drop and morphological paradigms. Some of his more recent ideas on grammaticalization are addressed in “Problems with primary vs. secondary grammaticalization: the case of East and mainland Southeast Asian languages” (Language Sciences 47, 2015). A survey of his ideas on complexity is found in “Hidden complexity—the neglected side of complexity and its consequences”. Linguistics Vanguard 1.1, 2015).

Andrej Malchukov, University of Mainz

Andrej Malchukov is a Senior Researcher at the St.-Petersburg Institute for Linguistic Research (Russian Academy of Sciences) and is currently affiliated to the University of Mainz. Apart from descriptive work on Siberian (in particular, Tungusic) languages, his main research interests lie in the domain of language typology. He published extensively on the issues of morpho-syntactic typology; in particular, he edited The Oxford Handbook of Case (together with Andrew Spencer; OUP, 2009), Studies in Ditransitive Constructions: a Comparative Handbook (together with Bernard Comrie and Martin Haspelmath; Mouton de Gruyter, 2010), Competing motivations in grammar and cognition (together with Brian MacWhinney and Edith Moravcsik; OUP, 2014), and Valency classes in the world’s languages (together with Bernard Comrie; 2 vols., Mouton de Gruyter, 2015).


November 14, 2017
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Bisang, Walter & Malchukov, Andrej (eds.). 2017. Unity and diversity in grammaticalization scenarios. (Studies in Diversity Linguistics 16). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.823224


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