Call for papers

State of the art

Grammaticalization research has in the last decade highlighted the notion of construction. Hopper & Traugott (2003:1) in their classical definition of grammaticalization point out that that not only words but also constructions, i.e. sequences of words, can undergo grammaticalization.

As a term referring to a research framework, “grammaticalization” refers to that part of the study of language change that is concerned with such questions as how lexical items and constructions come in certain contexts to serve grammatical functions or how grammatical items develop new grammatical functions.

Himmelmann (2004:31) in turn argues that a grammaticalizing element (he speaks of a ‘grammaticizing’ element) should not be considered in isolation but rather in its syntagmatic context, i.e. the construction it occurs in.

Strictly speaking, it is never just the grammaticizing element that undergoes grammaticization. Instead, it is the grammaticizing element in its syntagmatic context which is grammaticized. That is, the unit to which grammaticization properly applies are constructions, not isolated lexical items.

In the wake of this work, efforts have been made to more precisely articulate the largely pretheoretical notion of construction in the theoretical framework of construction grammar. The main tenet of construction grammar is that our grammatical knowledge is made up of a taxonomic network of constructions, i.e. pairings of form of meaning (Goldberg 1995, Croft 2001, Hoffmann & Trousdale 2013). Moreover, no one level of grammar is considered autonomous (Fried & Östman 2004).

Integrating constructionist insights into grammaticalization research has led to new findings:

  • semantic bleaching of grammaticalizing elements is paralleled by semantic changes in the construction they are part of (Hilpert 2008, Colleman & De Clerck 2011)
  • grammaticalization is accompanied by changes in schematicity, productivity, and compositionality of the entire construction (Trousdale 2008, 2010)
  • the perceived degree of gradualness, which is accentuated within grammaticalization theory, can be described as small incremental steps in various dimensions of a construction (Traugott 2008, Traugott & Trousdale 2010, 2013)
  • statistical methods developed in construction grammar, such as collostructional analysis, can be implemented to help support, falsify and/or uncover ongoing grammaticalization (Hilpert 2008, 2013, Coussé 2014)

Confronting grammaticalization research with the framework of construction grammar also brought up the question how grammaticalization relates to constructional change in general (Noël 2007, Gisborne & Patten 2011). As such, grammaticalization research increasingly interacts and converges with the emerging field of diachronic construction grammar (Israel 1996, Bergs & Diewald 2008, Fried 2008, 2013, Barðdal 2013). This ongoing interaction has recently led to an analysis of grammaticalization and lexicalization in terms of constructionalization (Traugott & Trousdale 2013).


This workshop aims to bring together researchers working on grammaticalization and construction grammar in one dedicated workshop, in order to provide a platform for enhanced collaboration between and integration of both frameworks, in Scandinavia and beyond.

We invite presentations joining insights from grammaticalization research and construction grammar. Both theoretical and empirical contributions are most welcomed. We are particularly interested in methodologically innovative work that helps uncovering grammaticalization, constructional change and constructionalization in historical corpora and work on the relation between different levels of a construction and its place in a larger network.

Abstract submission

We invite abstract submissions for oral presentations (20-minute presentation plus 10-minute discussion). Abstracts should clearly specify how the presentation will contribute to the theme of the workshop and also state research question, theoretical background, method, data and (preliminary) results. Abstract should not exceed 400 words (exclusive of references). All author-specific information must be avoided in order to ensure anonymous reviewing. Send your abstract to before 1 May 2015. Indicate your name and affiliation in the body of your mail.

Download the call for papers as a pdf file.


Barðdal, J. (2013) Construction-based historical-comparative reconstruction. In: T. Hoffmann & G. Trousdale (2013) The Oxford handbook of construction grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 438-457.

Bergs, A. & G. Diewald (2008) Constructions and language change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Colleman, T. & B. De Clerck (2011) Constructional semantics on the move. On semantic specialization in the English double object construction. Cognitive Linguistics 22, 183-209.

Coussé, E. (2014) Lexical expansion in the have and be perfect in Dutch. A constructionist prototype account. Diachronica 31, 159-191.

Croft, W. (2001) Radical construction grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fried, M. (2008) Constructions and constructs. Mapping a shift between predication and attribution. In: A. Bergs & G. Diewald (eds.) Constructions and language change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 47-79.

Fried, M. (2013) Principles of constructional change. In: Th. Hoffmann & G. Trousdale (eds.) The Oxford handbook of construction grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 419-437.

Fried, M. & J.-O. Östman (2004) Construction grammar in a cross-language perspective. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Gisborne, N. & A. Patten (2011) Constructions and grammaticalization. In: B. Heine & Heiko Narrog (eds.) The Oxford handbook of grammaticalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 92-104.

Goldberg, A.E. (1995) Constructions. A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Hilpert, M. (2008) Germanic future constructions. A usage-based approach to language change. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Hilpert, M. (2013) Constructional change in English. Developments in allomorphy, word formation, and syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Himmelmann, N.P. (2004) Lexicalization and grammaticization. Opposite or orthogonal? In: W. Bisang, N.P. Himmelmann & B. Wiemer (eds.) What makes grammaticalization. A look from its components and its fringes. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 21-42.

Hoffmann, T. & G. Trousdale (2013) The Oxford handbook of construction grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hopper, P.J. & E.C. Traugott (2003) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Israel, M. (1996) The way constructions grow. In: A.E. Goldberg (ed.) Conceptual structure, discourse and language. Stanford: CSLI, 217-230.

Noël, D. (2007) Diachronic construction grammar and grammaticalization theory. Functions of Language 14, 177-202.

Traugott, E.C. (2008) Grammaticalization, constructions and the incremental development of language. Suggestions from the development of degree modifiers in English. In: R. Eckardt, G. Jager & T. Veenstra (eds.) Variation, Selection, Development. Probing the Evolutionary Model of Language Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 219-250.

Traugott, E.C. & G. Trousdale (2010) Gradience, gradualness and grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Traugott, E.C. & G. Trousdale (2013) Constructionalization and constructional change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Trousdale, G (2010) Issues in constructional approaches to grammaticalization in English. K. Stathi, E. Gehweiler & E. Konig (eds.) Grammaticalization. Current views and issues. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 51-72.

Trousdale, G. (2008) Constructions in grammaticalization and lexicalization. Evidence from the history of a composite predicate construction in English. In: G. Trousdale & N. Gisborne (eds.) Constructional approaches to English grammar. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 33-67.