Goal-marking morphemes, or allatives, are notoriously polysemous crosslinguistically. In a survey of 44 genetically and areally diverse languages, we have tracked synchronic usage patterns for 54 allative markers and confirmed that they indeed exhibit a wide range of semantic and grammatical functions. A number of previous grammaticalization studies undertaken from a cognitive/typological perspective have argued that various non-spatial goal-marking senses of allative morphemes, such as dative/benefactive and purposive, often develop out of a spatial sense through various semantic extensions. Our data also indicated that allatives grammaticalize extensively, but that dative, purposive, and other common abstract extensions, perhaps strongly associated with the allative sense, have an equal – and thus independent – likelihood of developing. That is, their functional evolution is not fully predetermined by a single implicational hierarchy or by a unidimensional grammaticalization chain. Instead, an allative marker undergoing grammaticalization has multiple extension pathways available to it.
© Walter de Gruyter