LINGUIST List 12.1057

Sat Apr 14 2001

Qs: Old Eng References, Grammar/Symmetry Breaking

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  1. Jena Barchas Lichtenstein, Old English references
  2. Zylogy, Grammar from symmetry breaking

Message 1: Old English references

Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 19:19:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jena Barchas Lichtenstein <>
Subject: Old English references

Does anyone knows any good Old English grammar (and/or vocabulary)
references (preferably online)? I'm trying to glean all I possibly can
from a bilingual edition of Beowulf (Seamus Heaney's translation). 
Thanks in advance.

Jena Barchas Lichtenstein
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Message 2: Grammar from symmetry breaking

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 03:10:37 EDT
From: Zylogy <>
Subject: Grammar from symmetry breaking

Hi. Any treatises out there which relate the structure and evolution of 
grammar to broken symmetry patterns? I've seen scattered bits and pieces 
(antisymmetry, etc.), but never anything resembling a full treatment of 
language as a whole. For those of you who know my interest in the 
lexicalization of ideophones and expressives and linkage to 
grammaticalization, the connection to symmetry breaking would be obvious in 
the creation of various levels of hierarchy, word classes, etc. Certainly the 
breakdown of the phonosemantic iconicity (native paradigmaticity) relation 
fits the bill, with the collapse of symmetry, and concomitant increase in 
syntagmatic possibilities. An open system would be able to add hierarchical 
levels indefinitely, but the recursive nature of grammar would seem to 
indicate rather a closed system after a certain set of steps. 

And the possibility of high rank elements being recycled into expressives 
wouldn't hurt either. 

In any case anyone who knows please redirect me to the proper sources. Thanks.

Jess Tauber
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