Volume 8 Issue 1 (2010)
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A Diachronic Dimension in Maps of Case Functions
One of the advantages of classical semantic maps with distinct
connections between individual meanings (or functions) is that they are well
suited for the inclusion of diachronic information. This paper intends to
demonstrate how information on the directionality of meaning extension can be
integrated into such maps. For this purpose, the diachronic dimension of three
areas of case function, namely Companion-Instrument, Source-Agent, and
Goal-Recipient, was investigated. As a result, it was found that in the case of
most connections between meanings/functions in these areas, a clear
directionality can be hypothesized, and relatively robust diachronic semantic
maps can be constructed.
1. Why Diachronic Information Is
Important for Semantic Maps
Semantic maps are a relatively new approach to the
representation of semantic and functional relationships. They are usually traced
back not much further than to Anderson (1982, 1986). However, the last couple of
years have seen an exponential rise of interest in, and increase in use of this
methodology, including such important contributions as Haspelmath (1997, 2003),
van der Auwera & Plungian (1998), Croft (2001), and Malchukov (2004). In
classifying the specimen of maps as they are used in the field of grammar, I
suggest that basically two types of representation can be distinguished. The
first type of representation posits distinct “connections” between
meanings. I will call this type a “classical” map, because the first
maps by Anderson (1982, 1986) were drawn in this fashion. The second type simply
shows spatial adjacency between meanings or functions, sometimes plotted on the
basis of statistical information. Croft’s maps (e.g. Croft 2001, Croft
& Poole 2008) can be thought of as representative of this approach.
Concerning the “classical” maps, the factors that have made
them attractive for researchers include the following: (1) they can graphically
represent similarity relationships between meanings or functions; (2) they can
graphically represent possible versus impossible or, empirically speaking,
attested vs. non-attested connections between meanings or functions (i.e.
polysemous extensions); (3) they may contain implicational universals; (4) they
can graphically represent information about the directionality in the
connections between meanings—the main topic of this paper.
Especially factors (2) to (4) can be seen as advantages of a classical
map since these are points that can be represented only with much greater
difficulty, if at all, on purely spatially arranged maps. On the other hand,
spatially arranged, especially statistically plotted maps are potentially more
accurate in representing similarity relationships. Beyond that, the potential
advantages that classical maps offer also come at a price. The meaningfulness of
classical maps basically relies on point (2). If on a map every meaning/function
is related to every other meaning/function, and no connection can be excluded,
the map becomes almost meaningless, or “vacuous” (cf. Haspelmath
2003:218). Figure 1 is an example of such a map.
1: A vacuous semantic map, or, how semantic maps ought not to
In the case where no relationship between meanings or
functions is excluded, only a spatially arranged map containing statistical
information is still meaningful, except perhaps for the fact that showing that
all meanings/functions in an area are related still has some meaning.
Now, the problem is that many semantic maps, if empirical data are taken
seriously and minority patterns are not conveniently excluded, end up looking
like Figure 1 or at least having areas like Figure 1. Another example is
provided by Figure 2 which is based on a data set that was used for this paper
and will show up again later in Section 7 (we will leave the meanings/functions
unnamed for now):
Figure 2: How a semantic map can
This map still makes a number of interesting predictions, such as,
for example that meaning/function A cannot be directly connected with
meaning/function F, but in the area of C, D, E, and F, for example, no
possibility can be excluded, and therefore the map’s informational value
is low. A statistically plotted map of this area would instead precisely show the similarity of the meanings/functions in this area.
However, the unique value of the classical maps, which presuppose the
existence not only of similarities but also of connections between meanings or
functions, is still present if factor (4) comes into play, namely the addition
of a dynamic dimension of meaning extension. Figure 3 adds such a (in this case
fictitious) diachronic directionality to the meanings/functions depicted in
Figure 3: How directionality
information can make an otherwise vacuous map meaningful
Figure 3 presents the hypotheses that meaning C in is an
extension of either meaning A or meaning B, but the opposite direction is not
allowed. Furthermore, meaning A can be derived from meaning B but not vice
versa. That is, although the bare connections represented in Figure 1 were of
little informational value, the addition of a diachronic dimension suddenly
turns this map into an interesting map. It is furthermore a map that represents
information which cannot (or only with great difficulty) be represented on
statistically plotted maps.
Thus, the point which has been made here is that a diachronic dimension
in classical maps gives this type of map a unique value which is hard to achieve
with other means of representation. The endeavor to add a diachronic dimension
to semantic maps, with all its difficulty, is therefore profitable if not highly
desirable. This endeavor, of course, depends on the actual historical existence
of directionalities. Here, grammaticalization theory comes into play;
grammaticalization theory has claimed (for the most part successfully, I
believe) that most semantic change in the area of grammar is unidirectional (cf.
Haspelmath 1999; Heine 2003; Hopper & Traugott 2003, ch. 5; Traugott &
Dasher 2002). There is good reason to hope that unidirectional relationships of
meaning extension as represented in Figure 3 actually exist in many areas of
The present paper explores the existence of such unidirectional
relationships in the area of case functions. The following section gives a brief
overview of the larger project of constructing a semantic map of case functions,
the present paper being a part of this project. Section 3 introduces data and
methods. Sections 5 to 7 deal with the Instrument-Companion, Source-Agentive,
and Recipient-Goal area. Section 8 discusses directionalities found in this
paper in their relationship to broader directionalities of grammaticalization
and semantic change. A short summary follows in section 9.
This paper presents research that should ideally lead to a
cross-linguistically valid semantic map of case functions. This map is to be
based on an inventory of case marker polysemy in a sample of 200 languages
(which is currently based on Ruhlen 1987 and Rijkhoff & Bakker 1998).
Particular semantic functions, for example the Instrumental and the Comitative,
are taken as starting points. The ultimate goal would be to automatically
calculate a semantic map with distinct connections between meanings from
polysemy data. However, for reasons explained by Croft & Poole (2008) among
others, this is mathematically impossible at present. The author therefore
attempted to find a replicable procedure that would somehow come close to the
automatic calculation of a map. The result has been described in a previous
study (Narrog & Ito 2007). Proceeding from a synchronic perspective,
relationships between meanings are posited (1) on the basis of simple
mathematics, namely the calculation of the “dependency” of one
meaning on others, and (2) on singular co-occurrences of one meaning with a
specific other meaning. Concretely, in terms of (1), the requirement is that
each of the meanings must appear in at least 10 morphemes in the database. Then,
if the occurrence of one meaning depends on another meaning by more than 90%
(0.9), the existence of a connection between those two meanings is hypothesized.
Extending the calculation to relations between three meanings, a dependency of
more than 81% (0.9*0.9) is required, with the three meanings occurring
simultaneously in at least 5 morphemes. Concerning (2), it is assumed that if a
morpheme M has only the meanings A and B, and this situation occurs in at least
three different languages, there is a direct connection between these two
Based on these procedures, the map in Figure 4 was hypothesized (cf.
Narrog & Ito 2007, Narrog 2008, Malchukov & Narrog 2008). Solid lines
indicate the result of calculation for two meanings (1), square dotted lines the
result of calculation for three meanings, round dotted lines the result of the
assumption (2), and long-dashed lines the result of the second assumption under
less strict conditions, namely in only two languages.
Figure 4: Map of the
Comitative-Instrumental domain (cf. Narrog & Ito 2007)
Data and Procedures
We now return to the goal of the present paper, which is to
add a diachronic dimension to the semantic map of the Comitative-Instrumental
domain in Figure 4 and the data that it represents. Furthermore, the map should
be extended beyond the Comitative-Instrumental domain, namely into the
Source-Agentive domain and the Recipient-Goal domain. The following premises
were adopted, and the following steps were taken to proceed towards this
- Although the topic here is “case”, which in some
theories is limited to core grammatical cases and/or dependent morphology (noun
inflection), we have included semantically highly specified functions of noun
phrases and have not limited ourselves to morphological case but have also
included morphologically independent material such as adpositions (in many
languages, the distinction between case inflection and adposition depends on the
theoretical approach anyway). Both inflections and adpositions are referred to
commonly as “markers” in this
- Very basically, a stance was taken which positively acknowledges
polyfunctionality (polysemy), as opposed to a monosemy
- With respect to the relationship between synchronic
polyfunctionality and diachronic meaning extension, in accordance with the
grammaticalization literature (e.g. Heine 2003:579; Hopper & Traugott
2003:125), it was assumed that a morpheme usually aquires a new function/meaning
while retaining its old function/meaning; i.e. A > AB (> B) (A and B
standing for a function/ meaning), and only in rare cases directly A >
- Although the value of a semantic map profits from the number of
unidirectional relationships depicted in the map, such hypotheses which are
conflicting or suggest bidirectionality were given specific attention because
the resolution of conflicting or contradictory hypotheses is particularly apt to
advance knowledge in this
- Related literature was skimmed for hypotheses on meaning
extension in the case domain. Specifically, general literature on case and on
grammaticalization was consulted in order to look for cross-linguistic
tendencies or directionalities, while individual grammars as a rule were not
included in the
- Directionalities posited on the basis of historical evidence, if
available at all, were given precedence over directionalities which were solely
posited on the basis of internal
As a result of the literature review, 135 hypotheses were
found, namely, 31 in the Comitative-Instrumental domain, 38 in the
Source-Agentive domain, 48 in the Dative-Allative domain, and 19 elsewhere. 25
of these turned out to be problematic, that is, either they claimed the
reverse of one another, or they contradicted the general directionality of language
change as posited, for example, in Heine et al. (1991).
The literature review revealed that a large number of hypotheses are
based on internal reconstruction or the intuition of the researcher, and
historical evidence is scarce. It should be noted that even in languages which
have a relatively well-documented history, as for example English, it is not
uncommon that the development of polyfunctionality may precede historical
documentation, or the historically documented situation is unclear or contested.
Relevant authors and works that turned out to be relatively strongly historically oriented include Blake (2001, 2004), and Hopper & Traugott
(2003). Heine and research associates (Heine et al. 1991, Heine & Kuteva
2002), Stolz and research associates (Stolz 1994, 2001; Stolz, Stroh & Urdze
2006), and Luraghi (2001a, 2003) present mixed evidence, while Palancar (2002),
Yamaguchi (2004), for example, are mainly tuned towards internal reconstruction.
Furthermore, it is possible to distinguish between two basic theoretical stances
with respect to meaning extension. First, there are cognitively-oriented
scholars who basically take a localist stance (that is, local functions are
thought to be the foundation for all, or at least most, other functions).
Examples are Croft (1991), Heine and associates (Heine et al. 1991 and others),
and Luraghi (2001a, 2003 and others). Some scholars implicitly or explicitly do
not take this stance (e. g. Lehmann 2002, Palancar 2001, 2002). Note that a
different theoretical stance can influence the outcome of internal
The goal of this project is to build semantic maps of case
functions. In the area of “case”, however, labels of at least three
levels are commonly encountered, namely semantic functions, morphological case,
and grammatical relations. For example, the same marker (case ending or
adposition) may mark a recipient on the level of semantic function, a dative on
the level of morphological case, and an indirect object on the level of
grammatical relations. It has been common for research in the area of case
functions not to make strict distinctions between different levels of
description. For example, Givón (2001:107) uses the label
“dative” parallel to “agent”, “patient” and
“instrument”, and Rice & Kabata (2007:490) use
“allative” parallel with “recipient” or
“purpose”. Furthermore, the very same marker might be labeled as
“recipient” in one description and “dative” in another
description, or as a “dative” marker in one description and an
“indirect object” marker in a different description without there
being a substantial difference. In the light of the large number of languages
included in this research, in most cases solely on the basis of published
descriptions, it is impossible to obtain a data basis with equivalent
In trying to be both practical and consistent, we have dealt with this
problem as follows. Grammatical relations markers are with few exceptions
excluded from the study because the distance of descriptive level between
grammatical relations on the one hand and semantic functions on the other hand
is too wide. For the morphological case labels, on the other hand, we assume
that they minimally contain the semantic functions listed in Table 1.
minimally assumed semantic function
Table 1: Minimally assumed
functions of case labels
From here on we shall work with the semantic function labels
for constructing the maps. Taking this procedure, although it may not be
theoretically desirable, is unavoidable practically because languages rarely
have markers that are monofunctional, and few descriptive grammars give an
exhaustive list of the semantic functions that a specific case has. Datives
usually also have other functions, such as experiencer or beneficiary, or may be
used purely syntactically for a default third argument. Instrumentals often
denote material and manner, etc. We assume that they have at least a
“recipient” function and an “instrument” function,
unless other functions are specifically named, and unless there is evidence to
the contrary. These semantic functions, with which we construct our maps, are
henceforth written with capital letters.
The following sections, divided by semantic domains, present the actual
results of the investigation.
The Instrument-Companion Domain
For a majority of the relations between meanings/function in
Figure 4, a directionality of meaning extension in just one direction has been
posited in the literature. These directionalities are listed in Table
Independent of whether the directionalities posited in Table 2 are
presumably based on actual historic evidence or “only” on internal
reconstruction, we do not question the assumptions behind them here unless a
conflict arises with hypotheses that posit a different directionality. These are
discussed in a little more detail in the following section (5.2).
literature supporting this directionality
language examples cited
Palancar 2002:181, 234; Luraghi 2003:322; Creissels (2008)
Greek; Kannada, Maithili, Punjabi, and others
Haspelmath 1997:66-68; Heine & Kuteva 2002:35, 317
Romanian, Polish, Croatian, Chinese, Kannada, Tamil etc.
Lord 1993:47ff; Michaelis & Rosalie 2000:90; Heine & Kuteva
2002:80; Heine 2003:595; Stassen 2003:785
Baka, Ewe, Dogon, Hausa, Ga, Lingala, Moré, Yagaria, Turkish,
French Creoles, Chinese
Heine & Kuteva 2002:88; Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer
1991:166; Yamaguchi 2004:121; Stolz 2001:340
Swahili, Baka, Lingala
Lehmann 1983:368; 1988:63; 2002:73; Heine & Kuteva 2002:180;
Hittite, Sanskrit, Avar, Dyirbal, Mangarayi
Michaelis & Rosalie 2000:90; Givón 2001:263; Blake 2001:172;
Luraghi 2001b:395; Palancar 2002:161; Lehmann 2002:98; Hopper & Traugott
2003:171; Yamaguchi 2004:102, 112, 121, 129
Russian, Czech, Dravidian; CFs; Greek
Luraghi 2001b:390; Yamaguchi 2004:117; Endruschat 2007:63; Heine
Greek, Carib; Romance
Palancar 2002:125f; Endruschat 2007:58, 61, 63, 84
Luraghi 2001a:50; 2001b:390; 2003:35; Palancar 2002:170, 183; Yamaguchi
Greek, Russian, German, Polish etc.
Table 2: Uncontroversial sources
and targets in the instrument-companion domain
With some of the connections listed above, the
directionality is controversial. There are different ways in which this can be
the case. First, and most saliently, converse directionalities of semantic
extension have been posited. Secondly, in the case of some connections, it is
not clear if the connection is direct or mediated by a third meaning/function.
Thirdly, the directionalities of some connections may conflict with more general
directionalities of meaning change posited in the general literature on
grammaticalization and semantic change (e.g. Heine et al. 1991). We will begin
by dealing with the first type of (apparent) contradiction, and then, more
briefly, with the second type of contradiction. The third type, the violation of
general rules of semantic change is dealt with in a separate section at the end
of this paper (Section 8).
From Instrument to Companion,
from Companion to Instrument, or bidirectionality?
With espect to the
relationship between Instrument and Companion, the two opposite directionalities
have been claimed to hold.
Numerous researchers have claimed in their work that Companion extends
to Instrument but not vice versa. This hypothesis is supported in the following papers and books:
Lehmann (1988:63); Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:158, 166); Stroh
(1998, 1999); Michaelis & Rosalie (2000:90); Luraghi (2001a:50, 2001b:390); Stolz (2001:340); Heine & Kuteva (2002:84); Palancar
(2002:126); Lehmann (2002:99); Heine (2003:595); Yamaguchi (2004:121); Stolz,
Stroh & Urdze (2006:366, 369f); Endruschat (2007:59). The opposite
relationship has been claimed in Givón (2001:263).
As evidence for a directionality of meaning extension from Companion to
Instrument the following languages have been cited: Germanic (Heine, Claudi
& Hünnemeyer 1991:158); Latin and various Romance languages (Stroh 1998,
; Greek (Luraghi 2001b:390;
2003:322); English; Estonian, Welsh (Stolz, Stroh & Urdze 2006:366, 369). Heine,
Claudi & Hünnemeyer cite Priebsch & Collinson’s The German
Language (1968 edition): “So-called instrumental was primarily a
comitative or social case in Proto-Germanic”.
In contrast, Givón (2001:263) provides no evidence. It is not
clear how serious his claim, which is mentioned in passing, is to be taken. The
evidence points overwhelmingly in the opposite direction. Additionally, the
extension from Companion to Instrument fits the general directionality of
grammaticalization and semantic change posited by Heine, Claudi &
Hünnemeyer (1991:156, 158), namely from the marking of a human participant
to the marking of an inanimate participant. Overall, we can therefore assume a
unidirectional extension of Companion to Instrumental.
From Location to Instrument,
from Instrument to Location, or bidirectionality?
In the following works, an extension from a locative to an
instrumental function has been hypothesized: Blake (2001:173); Luraghi
(2001a:50); Palancar (2002:126, 174, 239); Luraghi (2003:35f, 322, 88f);
Grünthal (2003:139-141); Yamaguchi (2004:102, 106); Heine (2008). In
contrast, Stolz (2001:340) has posited the opposite directionality.
Markers in the following languages and language groups have been cited
as evidence for meaning extension from Location to Instrument: Pama-Nyungan,
English (Blake 2001:173); Greek, Russian, and other Indoeuropean languages
(Luraghi 2003:35f, 322, 88f); Finno-Ugric (Grünthal 2003:139-141). In
contrast, no concrete marker in a specific language has been cited for the claim
of opposite directionality.
In addition, general directionality of semantic change in
grammaticalization supports the directionality from a locative to an
instrumental function. Instrument is further advanced than Location on Heine,
Claudi & Hünnemeyer’s (1991:159) “chain of increasing
grammaticalization”. Instrument belongs to “anthropocentric
concepts”, while Location belongs to “spatial concepts” (p.
160). We can assume here unidirectionality from Location to Instrument.
From Instrument to Cause, from
Cause to Instrument, or bidirectionality?
Meaning extension from the marking of Instrument to the
marking of Cause has been claimed by Palancar (2001:376; 2002:126, 166, 234);
Luraghi (2003:37), and Yamaguchi (2004:102, 112f, 121, 129). The opposite
direction has been claimed by Palancar (2001:377, 381; 2002:121, 137, 157). That
is, Palancar, on conceptual grounds, sees bidirectionality.
As evidence for the directionality from Instrument to Cause, English,
Spanish (Palancar 2001:376; Palancar 2002:165; Yamaguchi 2004:112) and Sanskrit
(Luraghi 2003:37) have been cited. No specific language is cited for change in
the opposite direction.
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:159f) see Cause further
advanced than Instrument on the “chain of increasing
grammaticalization”, as the Instrument belongs to “anthropocentric
concepts”, and Cause belongs to “inanimate concepts” (p. 160).
Overall, we can assume unidirectionality from Instrument to Cause.
Direct or mediated relationship
(A > B or A > C > B?)
This subsection deals with five cases in which researchers
have questioned whether a direct connection exists between meanings/functions
A/B, or only an indirect relationship, mediated by a third meaning/function
First, Palancar (2001, 2002) suggests that the path from Instrument to
Passive Agent is not direct but always mediated by Cause. In contradiction to
this, my synchronic database (Narrog & Ito 2007) shows 16 out of 29
instrumental morphemes with a Passive Agent meaning and having no causal
meaning. It is therefore very likely that the path from Instrument to Passive
Agent is not obligatorily mediated by a Cause function.
The second problem is related, as it concerns the path from Companion to
Passive Agent. Heine & Kuteva (2002:80) suggest that: “It [the path
from Comitative to Passive Agent] might involve an intermediate INSTRUMENT
stage.” This is indeed very likely. The connection from Companion to
Passive Agent as such is rare. In my database of companion and instrumental
markers in 200 languages, only 7 companion markers had a passive agent function.
Only a single one of them (namely Hoava preposition
ta-) had no
instrumental function (this could be chance because in some cases intermediate
functions disappear historically). Therefore, a direct extension from Companion
to Passive Agent is rather unlikely.
The third question is whether there is a direct connection between
Companion and Clausal Coordination or only one mediated by Nominal Coordination.
Heine & Kuteva (2002:83) comment that, “[w]e may be dealing with a
more general evolution COMITATIVE > NP-AND > S-AND.” In my
synchronic database, not a single example of polyfunctionality between Companion and Clausal Coordination
without Nominal Coordination could be found. Therefore, a direct extension from
Companion to Clausal Coordination can be excluded.
Concerning three of the connections posited in the Narrog
& Ito (2007) map (Figure 4), no specific directionality has been posited in
the literature. These are Companion and Co-participant, Instrument and Material,
and Instrument and Duration. Nevertheless, I will hypothesize in all three cases
that the minor function (Co-participant, Material, Duration) can be seen as an
extension of the major function (Instrument, Companion). In fact, depending on
the point of view, the Co-Participant and Material functions can be regarded as
part of the vagueness of the two major functions that arise in specific contexts.
Concerning the Duration function, this can be regarded as another extension from
non-temporal to temporal meaning rather than vice versa, which would be a very
rare and unlikely phenomenon.
Overall, in the case of the Companion-Instrumental area, it
is possible to posit fairly solid hypotheses for all directionalities. If the
directionalities are added to the synchronic map (none of the connections on the
map in Figure 4 was removed), the map in Figure 5 is obtained.
Figure 5: Semantic map of the
instrumental domain with directionality of meaning
This map can be further extended with a number of
connections that we have not observed in the synchronic data but which are
posited in the diachronic and grammaticalization literature.
First, Michaelis & Rosalie (2000:90) have suggested an extension
from Companion to Recipient in French Creoles. Second, some researchers have
noticed an extension from Companion to Manner (Heine & Kuteva 2002:87;
Yamaguchi 2004:121; German, Hausa, Ngbaka, Hungarian, Tamil as evidence) and
from Instrument to Manner (Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer 1991:166;
Givón 2001:263; Luraghi 2001b:390; H&K 2002:180; Yamaguchi 2004:102,
121; German, Basque, Ewe, Yoruba as evidence). These two relationships are
somewhat controversial, however. Namely, concerning the relationship between
Companion and Manner, Heine and Kuteva (2002:87) speculate that, “[t]his
process probably does not lead straight from COMITATIVE to MANNER but appears to
have INSTRUMENT as an intermediate stage […].” My synchronic
database (cf. Narrog & Ito 2007) shows that 12 out of 42 companion morphemes
with manner meaning have no instrumental meaning. Therefore, although there is
certainly a mediated path from Companion to Manner via Instrument, it is quite
likely that a direct connection exists as well.
Lastly, a putative relationship between Instrument, Companion, and Point
of Time markers has been noted (Heine & Kuteva 2002:89; Awtuw, German,
Basque, Hausa, Ngbaka, Hungarian and Albanian as evidence). The authors remark,
however, that “[c]onceivably, TEMPORAL markers are not derived straight
from COMITATIVE markers but rather are part of a more extended pathway
COMITATIVE > INSTRUMENT > TEMPORAL […]” (Heine & Kuteva
(2002:90). In my synchronic database of companions, only 5 out of 27
companion-marking morphemes with a temporal (point in time) meaning have no
additional instrumental meaning. Therefore, Heine & Kuteva’s (2002)
suggestion is probably correct, but this case is less clear than the preceding
A map that also includes these connections is presented in Figure 6.
This map is visually less elegant than the preceding one, but presumably more
comprehensive. The newly added connections are marked in green.
Figure 6: Revised diachronic map
of the instrumental/comitative domain
6. The Source-Agent
In the case of the Source-Agent domain, synchronic data from
the 200-languages sample were collected and analyzed just as for the
Instrument-Companion domain. On the basis of the analysis, the following
connections could be hypothesized.
- Based on dependency of
one meaning/function on another, with at least 5 morphemes for which both
meanings are available: Anterior conjunction “after” – Source
(dependency ratio 1.00); Temporal point of departure – Source (dependency
ratio 1.00); Contents “about” – Source (0.95),
Genitive/Partitive – Source (0.94); Goal – Source
- “Unique” connections between two meanings (that is, a
morpheme which only has exactly these two meanings/functions) in at least three
morphemes: Temporal point of departure – Source (13); Goal – Source
(4); Instrument – Ergative agent (4); Location – Source
- “Unique” connections between two meanings in two
languages (less strict condition): Passive Agent – Source; Passive Agent
– Instrument; Passive Agent – Cause; Partitive/Genitive –
Source; Source – Route; Source – Goal; Possessor –
On the basis of these hypothesized connections, the map in
Figure 7 can be constructed:
Figure 7: Map of the Agent-Source
One interesting fact is that this map shows no connection between Passive Agent and Ergative Agent, though this
connection is obvious to linguists with a diachronic background. The reason is
that this connection cannot be extracted with the help of the synchronic data
and the methods employed here. The function of a marker is usually described as
either passive, or, when the passive diachronically becomes an ergative, as
ergative, but not as both simultaneously. The following subsections compensate
for this shortcoming by introducing diachronic connections into the
6.2 Uncontroversial directionalities
Table 3 presents those directionalities in the
Source-Agentive area which are not contested in the literature and which were
not already listed in Table 2.
literature supporting this directionality
language examples cited
Yamaguchi 2004:135; Luraghi 2001a:50; Palancar 2001:381; Palancar
2002:120, 157; Creissels (2008)
English, German, Greek, Spanish
Kannada, Maithili, Punjabi
Heine & Kuteva 2002:30, 317; Yamaguchi 2004:135; Creissels
Latin, Bulgarian, Tibetan, Turkish, Aranda
Tauya, Dani, Athpare
Givón 2001:263; Hopper & Traugott 2003:171; Lehmann 2002:98;
Palancar 2002:242; Heine (2008)
Tibetan, Dyirbal, Avar, Tiriyo
Lehmann 2002:98; Givón 2001:263; Palancar 2002:192,
Indo-Iranian languages; Eskimo-Alëut languages; Mansi, Nigerian
Givón 2001:263; Lehmann 1988:63; Lehmann 2002:98; Heine
Sherpa, Georgian, Mingrelian
Lehmann 1988:63; Lehmann 2002:98; Heine (2008)
Lak, Eskimo, Sherpa
Givón 2001:263; Blake 2001:172
Table 3: Uncontroversial sources
and targets in the ablative-agentive domain
In violation of the procedure in this paper of assigning
default semantic readings to case labels, in Table 3 this was not done with
“Dative” in the extension from Dative to Passive Agent. The reason
is that all authors positing the extension from a dative function to a Passive
Agent label the function as “Dative” and not one as
“Recipient”. Furthermore, it is not clear at all if the extension
from Dative to Passive agent can indeed by felicitously labeled as an extension
from Recipient to Passive agent. It is entirely conceivable that
“Dative” already needs to be generalized to a syntactic “third
argument” marker or general oblique marker in order to be extended to
Passive Agent marking. As an exception to the rule we will therefore use the
morphosyntactic label “Dative” in the map.
Only one connection with controversial directionality is
found in this area. A directionality of meaning extension from Passive Agent to
Cause has been posited by Luraghi (2003:327) and Yamaguchi (2004:135, 121, 129).
The opposite directionality has been claimed by Michaelis & Rosalie
(2000:90) and Palancar (2001:374). As evidence, Luraghi (2003) cites Greek while
Michaelis & Rosalie (2000) cite the French Creoles. In Heine, Claudi &
Hünnemeyer’s (1991:159) framework, the directionality from Passive
Agent to Cause would be favored as an extension from a human to a non-human
domain. Nevertheless, since evidence is available for both directionalities we
posit bidirectionality at this point.
A number of connections which were found in the synchronic
data have been overlooked in the diachronic/grammaticalization literature
(unless the oversight is due to having overlooked the relevant literature).
These are the connections Goal-Source, Location-Source, Route-Source, Anterior
Conjunction-Source, and Contents-Source. In fact, Lehmann (1988:63) posits an
extension from Ablative to Locative, and Rice & Kabata (2007:486) posit the
opposite direction but without providing concrete examples. It is difficult if
not impossible to make any ad-hoc decision about the directionality between
Goal-Source, Route-Source, and Location-Source. These are questions left for
further research. With respect to the relationship between Source and Anterior
conjunction and Contents, we may hypothesize, as in the case of
Instrumental/Companion, that the minor functions (Temporal Anterior, Contents)
are contextual extensions of the major function.
Figure 8 shows the map resulting from the directionalities
hypothesized in the preceding subsections. They are marked in black. The
connections for which no directionality could be posited (i.e. Source with other
spatial functions), are marked in blue. Instrument and its surrounding
connections, which were already specified in Figure 6, are left out so as not to
overload the map.
Figure 8: Agent-Source
The last semantic domain to be investigated in this study is
the Goal-Recipient area. For this area, no synchronic data has been obtained and
therefore the resulting map relies solely on diachronic hypotheses.
The directionalities in meaning extension in this area which
are listed in Table 4 have not raised any controversy.
literature supporting this directionality
language examples cited
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer 1991:155; Heine 2003:595; Yamaguchi
2004:80; Luraghi 2003:325
English, Ik, Greek
Haspelmath 2003:234; Michaelis & Rosalie 2000:90; Luraghi 2003:39,
Rice & Kabata 2007:483
English, French, French Creoles
Heine & Kuteva 2002:39, 317; Haspelmath 2003:234; Heine 2003:595;
Luraghi 2001a:50; Rice & Kabata 2007:483; Creissels (2008)
Imonda, Albanian, Lezgian, Basque
Givón 2001:263; Heine 2003:595; Hopper & Traugott 2003:167;
Lehmann 1988:63; Lehmann 2002:99; Heine & Kuteva 2002:103
Dolakha Newari, English, Spanish, Burmese, Persian
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer 1991:155; Heine & Kuteva
2002:55, Yamaguchi 2004:85, 78
Bulgarian, English, Yaqui, Easter Island, Baka, Newari, Maltese, Slave
Armenian, Swedish, Diyari, Baka, Aranda, French, German etc.
Table 4: Uncontroversial sources
and targets in the dative-allative domain
In this area, a good number of controversial
directionalities of meaning extension have been found. They will be discussed in
the following five subsections.
From Beneficiary to Recipient,
from Recipient to Beneficiary, or bidirectionality?
A meaning extension from Beneficiary to Recipient has been
claimed by Lehmann (1983:368; 2002:99), Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer
(1991:151, 155), Michaelis & Rosalie (2000:90); Givón (2001:263),
Heine & Kuteva (2002:54), and Haspelmath (2003:234). The opposite directionality
has been claimed by Givón (2001:263), Luraghi (2001a:50), Rice &
Kabata 2007:483 and Kittilä (2005:85).
One concrete indicator (language) has been cited for the extension from
Beneficiary to Recipient, namely Brazilian Portuguese (Lehmann 2002:99), while
no concrete evidence besides internal reconstruction has been cited for the
opposite direction. With respect to general directionality in semantic change,
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:159) hypothesize that Dative/Recipient
is further advanced on the “chain of increasing grammaticalization”
than the Beneficiary. The reason is that the latter refers to a human
participant while the former only involves some “human instigator”
(i.e., does not necessarily mark a human participant itself). We tentatively
follow this hypothesis here.
From Location to Goal, from
Goal to Location, or bidirectionality?
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:155), Luraghi
(2001a:50), and Rice & Kabata (2007:483) have claimed meaning extension from
Goal to Location while Luraghi (2001a:50) and Palancar (2002:190) have claimed
the opposite direction; i.e. Luraghi (2001a) claims bidirectionality. However,
no diachronic evidence has been brought forward for either
With respect to general directionalities of semantic change, Heine,
Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:155) claim that the extension from Goal to
Location is part of a conceptual extension leading from a more concrete function
to more abstract functions. In a similar vein, Langacker (1990, 1998) presents
locative (stative) use of dynamic motion expressions (e. g.
over the hill etc.) as instances of subjectification. Based on
these conceptual considerations, we tentatively assume directionality from Goal
From Purpose to Cause, from
Cause to Purpose, or bidirectionality?
Meaning extension from Purpose to Cause has been claimed by
Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:151), Luraghi (2001a:46-50; 2003:326),
Heine & Kuteva (2002:246); Heine (2003:595), and Yamaguchi (2004:80). The
opposite directionality has been claimed by Luraghi (2001:46-50), i.e., this
author basically claims bidirectionality. Evidence presented by Luraghi
(2001a:46) for the extension from Purpose to Cause is the development of the
for. The same directionality can be found for
Nihon Kokugo Daijiten vol. 8:1131). The example
given for the opposite directionality, namely Spanish
para (< por
a) (Luraghi (2001a:46) is highly questionable because it does not
reflect the semantic development of one morpheme but of the amalgamation of two
morphemes. The general directionality of semantic change favors change from
Purpose to Cause because “PURPOSE […] normally presupposes some
human agent and activity, whereas CAUSE does not” (Heine, Claudi &
From Beneficiary to Purpose,
from Purpose to Beneficiary, or bidirectionality?
Meaning extension from Beneficiary to Purpose has been
claimed by Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:151), Heine & Kuteva
(2002:55f), Yamaguchi (2004:80), and Blake (2004:1087), while the opposite
direction has been claimed by Luraghi (2003:41). As evidence for a Beneficiary
> Purpose extension, Heine & Kuteva (2002:56) have cited the English
for, and Blake (2004:1087) has cited Australian languages
with dative markers for nominal constituents that extend to Purpose with
verbal/clausal constituents. No evidence has been presented for the opposite
With respect to the general directionality of semantic change and
grammaticalization, Heine, Claudi & Hünnemeyer (1991:157) state that
“[b]oth [Beneficiary and Purpose] share some feature of goal orientation
[…], but they differ from each other essentially in that BENEFACTIVE
typically presupposes a human participant […], whereas PURPOSE requires a
nonhuman participant.” Apart from this conceptual consideration, the
better evidence is on the Beneficiary > Purpose side, so we assume here that
change goes in this direction.
Four further directionalities have been proposed in the
literature which I consider as doubtful. First, Palancar (2002:137) has
suggested an extension from Beneficiary to Reason/Cause, but it would seem more
plausible to me to have Purpose, which is closely related to both, intervening
between these two functions. Furthermore, Lehmann (2002:73) and Palancar
(2002:126) both suggest an extension from specific locative cases (superessive
in Bulgarian and adessive in Hunzib) to Dative. There are two questions in need
of clarification with respect to these directionalities. Firstly, while
Recipient is doubtlessly the core dative function, in the case of a shift from a
stative locative function to Dative, the bridging function might not be
Recipient but rather Possessor or Experiencer. Secondly, as Luraghi (2003:51)
claims for Indo-European, allative functions, i.e. Goal, might be involved,
either intermediately between a stative locative and the Recipient function, or
preceding the stative locative function but directly connecting to the Recipient
functions. Likewise, a presumptive extension from Goal to Patient (cf. Heine
& Kuteva 2002:38, 317; Blake 2001:171; examples from Imonda and Spanish)
always seems to involve Recipient as
Recipient might therefore be
an obligatorily intervening function. Furthermore, the possible extension from
Goal to Experiencer has only been mentioned once (Heine & Kuteva 2002:38)
and for one language (Lezgian). Caution is warranted here although this
extension seems intuitively plausible.
The connections and directionalities as hypothesized in the
preceding subsections can be integrated as in the map in Figure 9. Experiencer
is not included because the evidence for directionalities involving this
function was rather weak. Those directionalities which are especially tentative
are marked by a dashed line.
Map of the Goal- Recipient domain
Conflicts of the Observed Directionalities in Meaning Extension with Conceptual
The last topic to be discussed in this paper concerns
conflicts between directionalities actually observed and conceptually motivated
theoretical claims about the directionality of semantic change in
grammaticalization. This concerns specifically the “chain of increasing
grammaticalization of case functions” posited by Heine, Claudi &
Hünnemeyer (1991). This chain is represented in Figure 10.
Figure 10. Chain of increasing grammaticalization of case
functions (Heine et al. 1991:159)
Conflicts with actual directions
of change can be observed in exactly one part of the chain, namely between the
second and the third block (column), which are consequently encircled. This concerns change from (potentially also inanimate) “participants
in human activity” (third column) to a “human participant”
(second column), especially actors.
Concrete counterexamples are acquisition of the Passive Agent function
by dative markers, and Ergative and Passive Agent functions by instrumental
markers. None of these changes is particularly controversial, and thus they are
fairly solid counterexamples to the putative general directionalities. One can
imagine even more counterexamples, e.g. from Possessive to Agent (for example,
change of Japanese
no from Possessive to Nominative/Agentive marker). The
only possible conclusion for this dilemma that I can imagine here is to dissolve
these two groupings and rearrange them according to changes which have actually
been observed. This is a task which requires more data than that presented here,
and I will therefore make no attempt to solve it in this paper.
I have argued in the first section of this paper that the
inclusion of diachronic information (directionality in meaning extension) gives
unique value to non-statistical semantic maps. The following sections were a
demonstration of how diachronic information can be included in semantic maps of
case functions. Three areas of case functions, Companion-Instrument,
Source-Agent, and Goal-Recipient were investigated. In the case of the
Goal-Recipient area, the map was even constructed solely on the basis of this
type of information.
Surprisingly, in the case of most connections a clear directionality
between two connected meanings/functions could be hypothesized. It would be
naïve to assume, however, that they can always be backed up by solid
historical evidence. Some hypotheses about directionality are based on
“internal reconstruction”, i.e., ultimately on researchers’
intuitions or specific theoretical premises. On the condition of these
limitations, the construction of diachronic semantic maps is an area of research
that certainly merits further exploration.
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Graduate School of Information Sciences
Stroh, Stolz and Urdze
(2006) support this claim, but they argue for a very complex history of this
directionality of change in the Romance languages.
Morphemes that were
labeled as “Dative” in the literature were interpreted as Recipient
markers for this study. That is, it was assumed that dative markers have at
least a recipient function. Of course, they may have an Experiencer function,
etc. as well.
I wish to thank Andrej
Malchukov for pointing this out to me.