Gradualness in analogical change as a complexification stage in a language simplification process

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The aim of this paper is to discuss cross-paradigmatic levelling as a gradual process towards grammar simplification in the light of the evidence provided by Modern Greek dialectal variation, dialectal nominal inflection in particular. Our data show that different varieties show different types – stages of levelling, always headed, however, towards the same direction, the loss of an inflection class sub-paradigm and the establishment of a uniform inflectional pattern, i.e. towards greater simplicity in the paradigmatic relations. In this spirit, the focal point of this contribution is twofold: (a) account for the factors facilitating the gradual character of analogical levelling as grammar simplification and (b) investigate the possible consequences of this gradual change in the architecture of the grammar of dialectal systems, i.e. temporary complexification phenomena. The above discussion is intended as a contribution of the study of synchronic dialectal variation phenomena towards the central issues of possible language structures and the direction of language change.


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