Grammaticalization, lexicalization, and pragmaticalization: Russian constructions with the preposition PO

2023. №1, 54-87

Ekaterina N. Vinogradova
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia;


The article describes Russian constructions including the preposition po with respect to grammaticalization, lexicalization, and pragmaticalization as processes often conflicting in linguistic studies. A corpus of constructions with po was created based on specialized dictionaries; dictionary entries in question were critically checked in order to identify all the functions of a particular construction. Some of these constructions required more precise definition of their functions in language and speech. As a result, a typology of constructions including po based on dictionary labels (prepositions, conjunctions, adverbs, predicatives, particles, parenthetical words) had to be expanded by adding the class of discourse formulae. The parenthetical constructions including po turned out to be very heterogenous, so they were categorized as follows: parenthetical constructions without any possible argument vs. parenthetical constructions with obligatory or optional argument. Besides that, literature on grammaticalization, lexicalization, pragmaticalization, and some other “-izations” was scrutinized; a consistent approach to them was selected and thus the collected constructions were correlated with the abovementioned linguistic processes. Analysis of the study corpus shows that formation of adverbs and predicatives corresponds to lexicalization; a relationship between notions of lexicalization, phraseologization, and idiomatization is illuminated. We demonstrate on the examples of specific linguistic units that prepositions and conjunctions follow some parameters of grammaticalization, taken broadly (E. Traugott et al.). ragmaticalization, viewed as a subclass of grammaticalization or as a separate process, can be revealed in evolution of particles and discourse formulae; parenthetical constructions are shown to be at the intersection of lexicalization and pragmaticalization. In conclusion, notions of constructionalization and multi-functionality are characterized; multi-functionality is stated to be a typical feature of the constructions analyzed.

For citation:

Vinogradova E. N. Grammaticalization, lexicalization, and pragmaticalization: Russian constructions with the preposition PO. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2023, 1: 54–87.


The author is indebted to anonymous reviewers and the editors of Voprosy Jazykoznanija for insightful comments and valuable remarks, as well as to postgraduate student in Lomonosov Moscow State University (Faculty of Philology) Xueqing Chen for productive collaboration.