The Linguistic Cycle

Elly van Gelderen

in The Linguistic Cycle

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756056
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896882 | DOI:
The Linguistic Cycle

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The introductory chapter provides some background on grammaticalization and cycles as well as a list of cyclical changes. It introduces the Minimalist Program and Economy Principles. One section examines language acquisition data that may provide evidence for Economy Principles. Sociolinguistic factors interfere with Economy, as is shown in another section (though this is not focused on in the remainder of the book). The chapter also discusses the relevance of Economy to language typology and methodological issues. The linguistic cycle can be seen as grammaticalization followed by renewal of a similar feature followed by grammaticalization and so on. Thus, agreement in many languages is lost and renewed by pronouns that are in turn reanalyzed as agreement. The word cycle is used to emphasize that these changes are unidirectional and they are caused by internal factors, i.e. principles the language learner/user employs. The renewed item doesn’t have to be identical to the eroded one and typically isn’t. The cycles that are most robust are the agreement, definiteness, and negative cycles.

Keywords: grammaticalization; cycle; minimalism; features; parameters; economy principles; typology; evolution; corpora

Chapter.  13015 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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