Constructional change vs. grammaticalization: From compounding to derivation

Bernd Heine, Heiko Narrog, Haiping Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Building on recent findings made in the framework of Construction Grammar, on the one hand, and within the framework on grammaticalization, on the other, the present paper is concerned with the development from lexical compounding to derivation. Compounding is presumably the most common source of derivational categories and this applies in particular to modifying (endocentric) compounds, which are the main subject of this paper. By looking at three cases of grammatical change in English, German, and the West African language Ewe it is argued that the two frameworks differ in their goals and in their approaches. Both frameworks search for regularities in grammatical change, but whereas Construction Grammar has a focus on constructional change, that is, change in the development of constructions, the central question asked by students of grammaticalization is how and why, e.g., lexical categories give rise to grammatical (or functional) categories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-175
Number of pages39
JournalStudies in Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Compounding
  • Construction Grammar
  • Constructional change
  • Decategorialization
  • Derivation
  • Desemanticization
  • Grammaticalization


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