Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Grammaticalization and Lexicalization
(2,431 words)

1. Grammaticalization

While it is generally accepted that the word “grammaticalization” was used for the first time by Antoine Meillet (1866–1936) in 1912, the process of grammaticalization has been a well-known phenomenon for many centuries in China, at least from the 14th century, when Zhōu Bóqí 周伯琦 (1298–1369) stated that “today’s empty words are all former full words” (jīn zhī xū zì jiē gǔ zhī shí zì  今之虚字皆古之實字; see Liú 2013). The process was later called xūhuà 虚化 ‘voiding’, before t…

Cite this page
Alain PEYRAUBE, “Grammaticalization and Lexicalization”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 31 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000171>
First published online: 2015

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