Chapter

Language Evolution

Elly van Gelderen

in The Linguistic Cycle

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756056
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896882 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756056.003.0010
Language Evolution

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Cyclical unidirectional changes give us insight into the question of language evolution. It is argued that semantic features are part of what is known as pre-grammar, responsible for the VP-domain with arguments and theta-roles relating to an event. Uninterpretable and interpretable features account for setting that event in place and time in the higher layers of the clause and arise later. As lexical items acquire non-semantic features, this grammatical stage evolves, resulting in a full-fledged grammatical system. Grammar and lexicon therefore evolve together.

Keywords: evolution; uninterpretable; interpretable; merge; grammaticalization

Chapter.  4178 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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