Outdoors on the shores of the Baltic: gradience in the grammaticalization of the exterior-region

  • Andres Karjus


The change of a lexical element into a grammatical (closed class) element must necessarily include intermediary stages where the element is considered gradually less lexical and more grammatical. The central assumptions in this study are the gradualness and gradience of grammaticalization, that natural language change cannot happen overnight, and that the change is driven by individual speakers of a language community (cf. Traugott and Trousdale 2010: 23, 26). Using a data sample from a questionnaire on spatial grams of the EXTERIOR-REGION (cf. Svorou 1994) in Estonian, Võro and Latvian, an attempt is made to model diachronic gradualness through synchronic gradience. The analysis and the explication thereof are carried out using multidimensional scaling, a statistical modelling method used akin to semantic maps.