Through hyperanalysis, a linguistic unit loses a part or all of its meaning or function. This process takes place in a situation where the hearers interpret some inherent semantic or functional property of a linguistic unit as given by the context the item occurs in.
Hyperanalysis is one of the four mechanisms of form-function reanalysis established by Croft (2000). He also refers to this mechanism as "overanalysis". The opposite process is at work in the mechanism of hypoanalysis.
- Croft, William. 2000. Explaining Language Change. An Evolutionary Perspective, ch. 5. Form-function reanalysis. Harlow: Longman, 117-144.