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Iterated Exaptation

  • Freek Van de Velde
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Morphology book series (SUMO, volume 4)

Abstract

Exaptation is a process of linguistic change where obsolescent morphology is refunctionalized. In this article it is argued that exaptation is not a rare, one-off process, as is often assumed, but may come in successive waves, both in biological evolution, where the term originated, and in cultural evolution, including linguistics. Such iterated exaptations may result in complex ‘layering’, to use a term familiar from grammaticalization studies. Two case studies on central aspects of Proto-Indo-European morphology are looked at in depth, showing how they underwent iterated exaptation in Germanic, namely the nominal stem-building -n- affix and the ŏ-grade of the verbal ablaut system. On the theoretical side, it is argued that exaptation is the consequence of word-based morphology that gives central stage to output configurations, a basic tenet of Construction Morphology.

Keywords

Ablaut Exaptation Grammaticalization Hypoanalysis Multiple source constructions Refunctionalization n-stems o-grade 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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