The Growth and Maintenance of Linguistic Complexity
This book studies linguistic complexity and the processes by which it arises and is maintained, focusing not so much on what one can say in a language as how it is said. Complexity is not seen as synonymous with difficulty but as an objective property of a system a measure of the amount of information needed to describe or reconstruct it. Grammatical complexity is the result of historical processes often subsumed under the rubric of grammaticalization and involves what can be called mature linguistic phenomena, that is, features that take time to develop. The nature and characteristics of such processes are discussed in detail, as well as the external and internal factors that favor or disfavor stability and change in language.
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Do languages become more complex over time?
List of abbrevations used in glosses
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ablaut adjectives adposition apocopated argued become behaviour choice claim communication complexity components compound Consider construction contexts creole creole languages cycle Dahl definite article derivational diachronic discussed distinction elements Elfdalian emergent English example expression fact frequency function gender systems genetic German Germanic languages grammatical gender grammatical marking grammatical maturation grammaticalization inflectional instance involve kind Langacker language change least less lexemes lexical items lexicon linguistic marker maturation processes McWhorter means morphemes morphology natural Neogrammarian niche normally notion noun incorporation noun phrase object obligatory paradigm particular past tense pattern spread periphrastic phenogrammatics phenomena phenomenon phonetic reduction phonetic weight phonological plural possible predictable preposed principle probably pronouns properties prosodic Proto-Germanic quasi-incorporated question reanalysis redundancy reference referential Russian seen semantic sense sentence speakers specific spoken stage stress strong verbs structure suffix suppletion Swedish syntactic tend theory tion Tok Pisin univerbation vowel word