Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 2
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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Various proposals have been put forward to explain the typological skewing produced by the universal preference for suffixing as opposed to prefixing. These proposals have focused either on processing or on diachronic explanations (or a combination of both). In the present paper it is argued that a developmental approach is more comprehensive than either of these. It can explain exceptions from typologically universal tendencies as well as the tendencies themselves in terms of alternative ways of balancing off basic acquisitional principles involved already at the holophrastic stage of development. The long-term stability of certaina priori‘disharmonic’ or unusual combinations of features is emphasised. What is needed to give support to the model is data from the acquisition of languages with rich morphologies. The available data is examined for evidence and a framework is proposed as a guide to future investigations.


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