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Bookmark and Share Paper 1253

Relative Frequency in the Grammaticization of Collocations: Nominal to Concessive a pesar de
Rena Torres Cacoullos
37-49 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This diachronic study of Spanish concessive a pesar de supports a view of grammaticization as the evolution of collocations into single units. As a nominal is absorbed into a connective, empirical measures of morphosyntactic decategorialization are the drop in plural marking, determination, adjectival modification, and juxtaposition with nouns. As erstwhile individual components are fused into a single unit, measures of (loss of) compositionality are tracking status, intervening material, juxtaposition with multi-word adverbials, and repetition of preposition de in coordinated adnominals. Automation as a single unit proceeds in tandem with syntactic generalization—from human adnominals to entire propositions—and semantic generalization—from the notion of sorrow to a broader notion of opposition and thence to one of contradiction. The crucial frequency measure is the relative frequency of the collocation with respect to occurrences of the lexical item outside the collocation. Relative frequency is important because it promotes fusion of the items constituting the collocation and autonomy of the fused unit from the erstwhile lexical component, which enables deployment of a new grammatical resource.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 8th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Timothy L. Face and Carol A. Klee
Table of contents
Printed edition: $250.00