ERIC Number: ED335916
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
It's Like, "What's Happening in the Evolution of Like?": A Theory of Grammaticalization.
In standard American English, the word "like" has several senses associated with it, the earliest of which dates to the 14th century. Some meanings reflect recent developments in the language and suggest that the lexical aspects of the word are changing toward a more grammatical function. Analysis of historical information and data collected in conversational discourse suggests that the older meanings have a more limited scope, and the newer meanings are therefore able to contain more of the proposition that is relative to a more general meaning. As the word's scope becomes broader, the semantic content becomes more general. In the early stages of grammaticalization, the meaning of the lexical item gradually becomes bleached, and an impoverished form emptied of semantic specificity results. "Like" appears to be in the early stages of grammaticalization because the various lexical meanings that have survived over time now co-exist with newer, more generalized forms. A brief bibliography is included. (MSE)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 1991, v16; see FL 019 402.