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LINGUIST List 25.299

Fri Jan 17 2014

Books: Ockham’s Razor in Linguistics: Klausenburger

Editor for this issue: Justin Petro <justinlinguistlist.org>

Date: 17-Jan-2014
From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de>
Subject: Ockham’s Razor in Linguistics: Klausenburger
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Title: Ockham’s Razor in Linguistics
Subtitle: An Application to Studies in French Phonology over the Last Half Century
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in French Linguistics 10
Published: 2014
Publisher: Lincom GmbH

Book URL: http://www.lincom-shop.eu

Author: Jurgen Klausenburger
Paperback: ISBN: 9783862885329 Pages: 150 Price: Europe EURO 54.80

Ockham’s Razor constitutes a principle of parsimony, which has been used as a guide in the sciences as well as in linguistics. Ockham’s 14th century metaphysics can be used to evaluate parsimony in modern linguistics. In this encounter, one discovers a subtle interplay between the Razor and a lesser known ‘Anti-Razor’. Crucially, the two principles are distinguished by markedness, as the Razor assumes the absence of an entity as unmarked, while the Anti-Razor considers the presence of an entity as unmarked.

These preliminaries supply the backbone for a thorough historical overview of theories on French phonology, done in five stages: (1) structuralism of the 1950’s, (2) generative phonology of the 60’s, (3) concrete / natural phonology of the 70’s, (4) non-linear phonology of the 80’s, and (5) optimality theory of the 90’s. There is an alternating evolution, as (1) is best identified with the Razor, (2) with the Anti-Razor, (3) with the Razor, and (4) and (5) with the Anti-Razor.

At the end, one cannot conclude that the Razor offers a universal metric of parsimony. Rather, Ockham’s Razor constitutes a ‘claim’ of parsimony: It attempts to prevent not to be able to prevent the positing of superfluous entities.

Linguistic Field(s): History of Linguistics

Subject Language(s): French (fra)

Written In: English (eng)

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Cambridge University Press http://us.cambridge.org

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing http://www.c-s-p.org
Cascadilla Press http://www.cascadilla.com/
Classiques Garnier http://www.classiques-garnier.com/
De Gruyter Mouton http://www.degruyter.com/
Edinburgh University Press http://www.euppublishing.com
Elsevier Ltd http://www.elsevier.com/
Equinox Publishing Ltd http://www.equinoxpub.com/
European Language Resources Association (ELRA) http://www.elra.info/
Georgetown University Press http://www.press.georgetown.edu/
John Benjamins http://www.benjamins.com/
Lincom GmbH http://www.lincom-shop.eu/
MIT Press http://mitpress.mit.edu/
Multilingual Matters http://www.multilingual-matters.com/
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG http://www.narr.de/
Oxford University Press http://www.oup.com/us
Palgrave Macmillan http://www.palgrave.com/
Peter Lang AG http://www.peterlang.com/
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Morgan & Claypool Publishers http://www.morganclaypool.com/
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Seoul National University http://j-cs.org/index/index.php
SIL International Publications http://www.sil.org/resources/publications
Universitat Jaume I http://www.uji.es/CA/publ/
University of Nebraska Press http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/
Utrecht institute of Linguistics http://www-uilots.let.uu.nl/

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