Elizabeth C. Traugott

Elizabeth Closs Traugott (born April 9, 1939 in the UK) is an American linguist and Professor of Linguistics and English, Stanford University. She is best known for her work on grammaticalization, subjectification, and constructionalization. Traugott earned her BA in English Language at Oxford University in 1960 and her PhD in English Language at the University of California, Berkeley in 1964. She was a pioneer in generative historical syntax. Dissatisfaction with generative models led her to collaborate with Paul Hopper (Carnegie Mellon University) and develop a functional approach to grammaticalization, understood as the change whereby lexical items and constructions come in certain linguistic contexts to serve grammatical functions (Hopper and Traugott 1993, revised ed. 2003). More recently she has worked with Graeme Trousdale (University of Edinburgh) on constructionalization. Based in Construction Grammar, constructionalization provides a framework that incorporates several aspects of grammaticalization and lexicalization within a unified theory of how meaningnew-formnew constructions arise. Other interests include the development of pragmatic markers, especially those in utterance-final position.


Elizabeth Traugott’s initial appointment was in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley (1964-1970). After year-long teaching appointments at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and University of York, UK, she was appointed Associate Professor of Linguistics and English at Stanford University in 1970, and Professor in 1977. She served as Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Stanford University from 1980-1985 and as Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies from 1985-1991. Elizabeth Traugott was honored with honorary doctorates from Uppsala University (2006) and The University of Helsinki (2010).[1]

Awards and distinctions

Traugott held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1983[2] and a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1983-84. She was President of the International Society for Historical Linguistics (ISHL) in 1979, of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in 1987,[3] and of the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) in 2007-2008.[4] She is currently a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


Selected Books

1972 A History of English Syntax. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

1980 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Mary L. Pratt) Linguistics for Students of Literature. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc.

1986 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Alice ter Meulen, Judith Snitzer Reilly, and Charles A. Ferguson, eds.) On Conditionals, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1991 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Heine, eds.) Approaches to Grammaticalization, 2 Vols., Amsterdam: Benjamins.

1993 (Paul Hopper and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2002 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Richard B. Dasher) Regularity in Semantic Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2003 (Paul Hopper and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, revised 2nd edition.

2005 (Laurel J. Brinton and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) Lexicalization and Language Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2010 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Graeme Trousdale, eds.) Gradience, Gradualness and Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

2012 (Terttu Nevalainen and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the History of English. New York: Oxford University Press.

2013 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Graeme Trousdale) Constructionalization and Constructional Changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Selected articles

1965 (Elizabeth Closs) "Diachronic syntax and generative grammar", Language 41: 402-414.

1976 "Pidgins, creoles, and the origins of Vernacular Black English". In Deborah Harrison and Thomas Trabasso, eds., Black English: A Seminar, 57-93. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum Associates.

1978 "On the expression of spatio-temporal relations in language". In Joseph H. Greenberg, Charles A. Ferguson, and Edith A. Moravcsik, eds., Universals of Human Language III, 369-400. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

1985 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Suzanne Romaine) "Some questions for the Concept of 'style' in sociohistorical singuistics". In Suzanne Romaine and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, eds., "Papers from the Workshop on Sociohistorical Linguistics", Folia Linguistica Historica 6: 7-39.

1989 "On the rise of epistemic meanings in English: An example of subjectification in semantic change", Language 65: 31-55.

1991 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Ekkehard König) "The semantics-pragmatics of grammaticalization revisited". In Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Bernd Heine, eds., Approaches to Grammaticalization I, 189-218. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

1992 "Syntax". In Richard Hogg, ed., The Cambridge History of the English Language I; The Beginnings to 1066, 168-289. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2000 (Scott Schwenter and Elizabeth Closs Traugott) "Invoking scalarity: The development of in fact", Journal of Historical Pragmatics 1: 7-25.

2003 "From subjectification to intersubjectification". In Raymond Hickey, ed., Motives for Language Change, 124-139. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2004 "Historical pragmatics". In Laurence R. Horn and Gregory Ward, eds., Handbook of Pragmatics, 538-561. Oxford: Blackwell.

2006 "The semantic development of scalar focus modifiers". In Ans van Kemenade and Bettelou Los, eds., Handbook of the History of English, 335-359. Oxford: Blackwell.

2007 “The concepts of constructional mismatch and type-shifting from the perspective of grammaticalization”, Cognitive Linguistics 18: 523-557.

2008 "Grammaticalization, constructions and the incremental development of language: Suggestions from the development of degree modifiers in English". In Regine Eckardt, Gerhard Jäger, and Tonjes Veenstra, eds., Variation, Selection, Development—Probing the Evolutionary Model of Language Change, 219-250. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

2010 “Revisiting subjectification and intersubjectification”. In Kristin Davidse, Lieven Vandelanotte, and Hubert Cuyckens, eds., Subjectification, Intersubjectification and Grammaticalization, 29-71. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

2010 “Dialogic contexts as motivations for syntactic change”. In Robert A. Cloutier, Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm, and William Kretzschmar, eds., Variation and Change in English Grammar and Lexicon, 11-27. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

2011 “Pragmatics and language change”. In Keith Allan and Kasia Jaszczolt, eds., The Cambridge Handbook of Pragmatics, 549-565. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2012 “Intersubjectification and clause periphery”. In Lieselotte Brems, Lobke Ghesquière, and Freek Van de Velde, eds., Intersections of Intersubjectivity, special issue of English Text Construction 5: 7-28.

2012 “The status of onset contexts in analysis of micro-changes”. In Merja Kytö, ed., English Corpus Linguistics: Crossing Paths, 221-255. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

2014 “Toward a constructional framework for research on language change”. Cognitive Linguistic Studies 1: 3-21.

2014 (Elizabeth Closs Traugott and Graeme Trousdale) “Contentful constructionalization”. Journal of Historical Linguistics 4:256-283.

2014 “On the function of the epistemic adverbs surely and no doubt at the left and right peripheries of the clause”. In Kate Beeching and Ulrich Detges, eds., Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery: Crosslinguistic Investigations of Language Use and Language Change, 72-91. Leiden: Brill.

2015 “Investigating ‘periphery’ from a functionalist perspective”. In Alexander Bergs, Abby Cohn, and Jeff Good, eds., Linguistic Vanguard 1. Berlin: De Gruyter.


  1. "The New Sesquipedalian". September 17, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  2. "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Elizabeth C. Traugott". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  3. "Presidents | Linguistic Society of America". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  4. "ISLE Committees". ISLE - The International Society for the Linguistics of English. Retrieved July 12, 2015.

External links

Her university page: http://www.stanford.edu/~traugott/

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