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Pustet, Regina (2003): Prototype effects in discourse and the synonymy issue: Two Lakota postpositions. In: Cognitive Linguistics, Vol. 14, No. 4: pp. 349-378




Despite of being fully synonymous at the semantic level, the postpositions el "locative/directional" and ekta "locative/directional" in Lakota (Siouan, Central North America) display different semantic cores in discourse: the semantic prototype for el is the role of locative, while the semantic prototype for ekta is the role of directional. Both the functional synonymy between el and ekta and the observed prototype effects can be attributed to constellations created by grammaticalization processes: when an innovative grammatical element is developing-in this case, ekta-replacement of a functionally equivalent older element-in this case, el-is unlikely, to happen overnight, so that the innovative and the older element can be expected to coexist for a while, and to share functional domains.