Network Core Mechanisms of Exponence

Fuß, Eric (2008)

Abstract

Focusing on the historical development of verbal inflections in Bavarian and Alemannic, this paper argues that the cyclic nature of language change can be attributed to the workings of two apparently conflicting acquisition strategies that help the learner to identify phonological exponents (of inflectional categories) and their feature specifications on the basis of the linguistic input he/she receives. Following Fuß (2005), it is assumed that grammaticalization processes are shaped by the a learning strategy based on morphological blocking that selects the most specified variant attested in the input. To account for certain types of analogical changes, it is proposed that the learner makes use of a conflicting strategy that aims at minimizing the number of elements/features stored in the lexicon (Minimize Feature Content, cf. Halle 1997) and ensures that learners acquire the most economical lexical inventory compatible with the input they are exposed to. The tendency to posit an economical system of featural distinctions may lead learners to innovate ‘less costly’ variants that are not part of the input. The innovating forms may then replace older, more distinctive forms if the latter fail to be robustly attested in the input the learner receives.

Fuss:2008
authorFuß, Eric
year2008
titleOn the emergence of paradigm structure: Blocking, analogy, and the cyclic nature of language change
entrytypeincollection
booktitleProceedings of CLS 44
addressChicago
publisherChicago Linguistic Society

BibTeX

@incollection{Fuss:2008,
    author = {Fuß, Eric},
    year = {2008},
    title = {On the emergence of paradigm structure: Blocking, analogy, and the cyclic nature of language change},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of CLS 44},
    address = {Chicago},
    publisher = {Chicago Linguistic Society},
}
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