Context types in grammaticalization as constructions
In recent grammaticalization studies, the notion of “context types” has been employed to describe the successive diachronic stages that are associated with grammaticalization processes. It has been shown that a new grammatical function does not arise homogenously in all uses of the linguistic item concerned, but in its origin is bound to specific linguistic “contexts” or “constructions”. However, the notions of “context” as well as “construction” differ greatly among scholars, and research into the impact of constructions in grammaticalization scenarios, and into ways to formalized context types and constructions for diachronic purposes has only begun. The present study advances in this direction as it links the notion of context types of grammaticalization studies with central concepts of construction grammar. Using
diachronic data from grammaticalization phenomena of German, successive types of contexts, i.e. critical contexts and isolating contexts, which are typically found in grammaticalization processes, are analyzed as specific types of idiomatic constructions in the sense the term is used in construction grammar.