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Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik

Deutsche Sprache in Gegenwart und Geschichte

Ed. by Ágel, Vilmos / Feilke, Helmuth / Linke, Angelika / Lüdeling, Anke / Tophinke, Doris

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Volume 32, Issue 2 (Jun 2004)


Verstärkungsprozesse. Zu einer Theorie der „Sekretion“ und des „Re-konstruktionellen Ikonismus“ [Strengthening processes. Toward a theory of “secretion” and “re-constructional iconicity”]

Rüdiger Harnisch
Published Online: 2005-12-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfgl.2004.32.2.210


Challenged by the claim that grammaticalization processes are unidirectional, an increasing number of attempts have been made to prove the existence of degrammaticalization processes. In this paper it is argued that phenomena of degrammaticalization, i.e. status raising on a scale of constructional levels (from pure phonological substance to an affix, from an affix to a word, and so on) connected with semantic concretion, and phenomena of „de-lexicalization“ as they are called here, i.e. resegmentation connected with folk-etymology like remotivation of formerly opaque elements, should be described within the framework of a „secretion theory“ and explained by means of a theory of „re-constructional iconism“.

The theory of „constructional iconicity“ claims that features of semantic markedness and of formal marking should preferably be in line. If they are not, they should be brought into line by means which re-construct iconicity. Such correlation may be missing on two grounds: Either meaning (+sem) is unexpressed (-sym); this kind of discordance can be healed by adding some morphemic substance (+sym). Or formal substance exists (+sym) but lacks a semantic correlate (-sem); this kind of discordance – the main subject of this paper – is healed by segregating this (junk-like) substance and by re-using (exapting) it as a sign, i.e. giving it a semantic interpretation, and thus moving it upwards on the scale of linguistic entities.

About the article

Published Online: 2005-12-09

Published in Print: 2004-06-07

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, ISSN (Online) 1613-0626, ISSN (Print) 0301-3294, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfgl.2004.32.2.210. Export Citation

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