1887
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-1588
  • E-ISSN: 2589-1596
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

Abstract

This commentary discusses some aspects of Haider’s model of grammar change that are problematic from the perspective of usage-based approaches to language change. These aspects include (i) the postulated equivalence between intentionality and teleology, (ii) the metaphorical nature of Darwinism when applied to other domains, and (iii) the nature of explanations of language change. With respect to (i), it is argued that equating intentionality with teleology disregards the fact that innovation in grammar is not unprincipled like in genes. With respect to (ii), the question is whether a comparison between as different concepts as human behaviors/brains and genes/populations can be considered as more than a metaphor (however powerful). Finally, with respect to (iii), a number of diachronic-typological studies are discussed that concur to suggest that variation in speakers’ verbal productions is largely adaptive, and therefore selection operates on a skewed pool of variants in which non-adaptive/dysfunctional variants are a minority (if any).

Comment

This is a commentary article in response to the following content:
Grammar change
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/elt.00027.san
2021-08-02
2021-10-17
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Bickel, B., Witzlack-Makarevich, A., Choudhary, K. K., Schlesewsky, M., & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, I.
    (2015) The neurophysiology of language processing shapes the evolution of grammar: Evidence from case marking. PLoS ONE10(8): e0132819. 10.1371/journal.pone.0132819
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132819 [Google Scholar]
  2. Cristofaro, S.
    (2014) Competing motivation models and diachrony: What evidence for what motivations?InB. Mac Whinney, A. L. Malchukov & E. A. Moravcsik (eds.), Competing motivations in grammar and usage (pp.282–298). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.003.0017
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.003.0017 [Google Scholar]
  3. (2019) Taking diachronic evidence seriously. Result-oriented vs. source-oriented explanations of typological universals. InK. Schmidtke-Bode, N. Levshina, S. Michaelis & I. A. Seržant (Eds.), Explanation in typology: Diachronic source, functional motivations and the nature of the evidence (pp.25–46). Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Croft, W.
    (1999) Adaptation, optimality and diachrony. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft18(2): 206–208. 10.1515/zfsw.1999.18.2.206
    https://doi.org/10.1515/zfsw.1999.18.2.206 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2000) Explaining language change. An evolutionary approach. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. (2003) Typology and universals. 2nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. (2010) The origins of grammaticalization in the verbalization of experience. Linguistics48: 1–48. 10.1515/ling.2010.001
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.2010.001 [Google Scholar]
  8. Daniel, M.
    (2010) Linguistic typology and the study of language. InJ. Jung Song (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology (pp.50–65). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Evans, N. & Levinson, S. C.
    (2009) The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences32: 429–492. 10.1017/S0140525X0999094X
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X0999094X [Google Scholar]
  10. Goldin-Meadow, S., Chee, So W., Özyürek, A., & Mylander, C.
    (2008) The natural order of events: How speakers of different languages represent events nonverbally. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences105: 9163–9168. 10.1073/pnas.0710060105
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0710060105 [Google Scholar]
  11. Haiman, J.
    (1983) Iconic and economic motivation. Language59(4): 781–819. 10.2307/413373
    https://doi.org/10.2307/413373 [Google Scholar]
  12. Haspelmath, M.
    (1998) The semantic development of old presents: New futures and subjunctives without grammaticalization. Diachronica15(1): 29–62. 10.1075/dia.15.1.03has
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.15.1.03has [Google Scholar]
  13. (1999) Optimality and diachronic adaptation. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft18(2): 180–205. 10.1515/zfsw.1999.18.2.180
    https://doi.org/10.1515/zfsw.1999.18.2.180 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2008) A frequentist explanation of some universals of reflexive marking. Linguistic Discovery6(1): 40–63. 10.1349/PS1.1537‑0852.A.331
    https://doi.org/10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.331 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2014) On system pressure competing with economic motivation. InB. MacWhinney, A. L. Malchukov & E. A. Moravcsik (Eds.), Competing motivations in grammar and usage (pp.197–208). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.003.0012
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.003.0012 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2019) Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?InK. Schmidtke-Bode, N. Levshina, S. Michaelis & I. A. Seržant (eds.), Explanation in typology: Diachronic source, functional motivations and the nature of the evidence (pp.1–23). Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Hawkins, J.
    (2004) Efficiency and complexity in grammars. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252695.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252695.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kurumada, Ch. & Jaeger, T. F.
    (2015) Communicative efficiency in language production: Optional case-marking in Japanese. Journal of Memory and Language83: 152–178. 10.1016/j.jml.2015.03.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.03.003 [Google Scholar]
  19. Maslova, E.
    (2000) A dynamic approach to the verification of distributional universals. Linguistic Typology4: 307–333. 10.1515/lity.2000.4.3.307
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lity.2000.4.3.307 [Google Scholar]
  20. Matras, Y.
    (2020) Language contact. 2nd edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781108333955
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108333955 [Google Scholar]
  21. Moravcsik, E. A.
    (2010) Explaining language universals. InJ. Jung Song (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Typology (pp.66–83). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Nichols, J.
    (1992) Linguistic diversity in space and time. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226580593.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226580593.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  23. Schmidtke-Bode, K.
    (2019) Attractor states and diachronic change in Hawkins’s “Processing Typology”. InK. Schmidtke-Bode, N. Levshina, S. Michaelis & I. A. Seržant (Eds.), Explanation in typology: Diachronic source, functional motivations and the nature of the evidence (pp.123–148). Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Schmidtke-Bode, K. & Grossman, E.
    (2019) Diachronic sources, functional motivations and the nature of the evidence: A synthesis. InK. Schmidtke-Bode, N. Levshina, S. Michaelis & I. A. Seržant (Eds.), Explanation in typology: Diachronic source, functional motivations and the nature of the evidence (pp.223–241). Berlin: Language Science Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Seržant, I. A. & Rafiyenko, D.
    (2020) Diachronic evidence against source-oriented explanation in typology. Evolution of prepositional phrases in Ancient Greek. Language Dynamics and Change, 11(2), 167–210. doi:  10.1163/22105832‑bja10009
    https://doi.org/10.1163/22105832-bja10009 [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/elt.00027.san
Loading
  • Article Type: Article Commentary
Keyword(s): diachronic typology; intentionality; teleology; usage-based models
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error