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Abstract

Abstract

The present paper examines a hypothetical correlation between language endangerment and the simplification of nominal and verbal inflections. After contrasting the complexities exhibited by two endangered languages (Eastern Huasteca Nahuatl and Wymysorys) with the complexities of their non-endangered predecessors (Older Nahuatl and Middle High German, respectively), the authors conclude that the endangerment-simplification entanglement cannot be demonstrated. First, although Wymysorys (a more endangered code) is slightly more simplified than Nahuatl (a less endangered code) as far as the nominal domain is concerned, this relationship is reversed in the verbal domain. Second, simplifying tendencies are not radical, with a number of innovative complexifying processes being also present. Third, when attested, simplification constitutes part of a “natural” language evolution rather than a process resulting from the endangerment.

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/content/journals/10.1075/sl.20082.and
2022-07-11
2022-08-12
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: complexity ; Nahuatl ; simplification ; language endangerment ; Wymysorys
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