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Abstract

The author states that there are in our vocabulary three, and only three, classes of semantic units: a) predicates, i.e. generic concepts – the result of our conceptualization of the world; they represent more than 90% of the vocabulary; b) operators of reference – a small, almost closed set bounding predicates to their concrete denotates; c) proper names, which are by defi nition referentially bound and are object of research of a specialized linguistic discipline. Thus, the main tasks of our grammar are (1) to defi ne and to describe the scope of the grammaticalization in the language in question and (2) to present the semantic classification of predicates, the description of their – bound and/or free – functioning in the text included.
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Abstract

The paper presents the results of diachronic analysis of independent grammatical morphemes which function in the grammatical systems of Chadic languages. The following markers are being considered: genitive-linking morpheme, subject and object markers, copula, focus marker. Etymologically, the markers are traced back to Chadic (and Afroasiatic) system of determiners identified by the three phonological elements, namely *n, *t, and *k which have their vestiges in contemporary systems. It is claimed that what is a retention on phonological ground, contributes to innovation processes on the grammatical level.
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Abstract

This article is a description and comparison of Polish and Arabic taboo-based intensifiers in terms of both the semantic domains from which they are derived and their level of desemanticization. For this objective, four domains were selected: (1) death, (2) religion, God, and demons, (3) sexuality, and (4) family. Within those domains an array of linguistic forms were analysed with the aim of examining to what extent they retained traces of the original meaning. Another question to elucidate is whether the transition from one category to another in the process of semantically-driven grammaticalization is accompanied by the loss of the taboo element of these lexemes.
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Abstract

Against the usual assumption that Arabic grammatical operators based on reflexes of šay derive from the Arabic word for ‘thing’ šayʔ, it is argued here that indefinite quantifiers and partitives instead derive from an existential particle šay that is present in some spoken Arabic dialects of the Arabian Gulf, Om an, and the Yemen. The ambiguity of the existential particle in constructions in which it sets off items in a series lends itself to its reanalysis as a quantifier, and its ambiguity as a quantifier motivates its reanalysis as a partitive. This is consistent with grammaticalization theory, whereby lexical forms give rise to grammatical forms, which themselves give rise to even more grammatical forms. Yet, existential šay likely did not arise from a lexical form. Instead, it is either a borrowing from Modern South Arabian or it is an inherited Semitic feature, ultimately deriving from an attention-focusing demonstrative. Either way, the grammaticalization of a quantitative šī/šē/šay cannot have proceeded directly from word ‘thing’. To the contrary, the word šayʔ meaning ‘thing’ can easily derive from an indefinite quantifier or partitive šay, in a process of degrammaticalization.
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