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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Spring 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37085 MW
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
HRH 2.106C

Course Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION: After an introductory discussion on grammaticalization - a general diachronic process of morphosyntactic change by which linguistic forms undergo a more or less substantial loss of syntactic independence accompanied by increase of their grammatical function - the course will examine how grammaticalization has affected evolution of the major Romance languages. Particular attention will be given to the investigation of grammaticalization processes pertaining to the following:

  • Definite articles
  • Future and conditional; compound tenses
  • Verbs of motion
  • The system of clitic pronouns
In addition, this course will discuss how grammaticalization stands with respect to and is viewed within formalist (generative based) diachronic linguistics, focusing on two issues which have raised controversy even among grammaticalization proponents: (1) the issue of unidirectionality (i.e., the irreversibility) of grammaticalization processes; and (2) the issue of whether grammaticalization can be considered an independently motivated phenomenon or simply represents an epiphenomenal process.

Grading Policy

  • Active class discussion (and critical evaluation) of reading assignments (20%)
  • Research paper proposal with annotated bibliography (20%)
  • Two oral presentations (10% each)
  • Final research paper (40%)


  • Course packet (required).
  • Hopper, Paul, & Elizabeth C. Traugott. 1993. Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (recommended; on reserve).
  • Heine, Bernd, Ulrike Claudi and Friederike Hünnemeyer. 1991. Grammaticalization: A conceptual framework. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (on reserve).


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