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The Social Origins of Language

By Daniel Dor

Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


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Free access to several Brill linguistics journals, such as Journal of Jewish Languages, Language Dynamics and Change, and Brill’s Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics.


Academic Paper


Title: Domain minimization and beyond: Modeling prepositional phrase ordering
Author: Daniel Wiechmann
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Rheinische-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen
Author: Arne Lohmann
Institution: Universität Wien
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: An important account of linear ordering in syntax is John A. Hawkins' (2004) theory of cognitive efficiency and the principles of domain minimization formulated therein. In its latest formulation, the theory postulates syntactic and semantic minimization principles. With regard to the relative strength of these principles, prior research into the dynamics of these constraints has come to differing conclusions. Using the relative ordering of prepositional phrases (PPs) in English as a test phenomenon, the present study contributes to the further development of a theory of syntactic serialization through the multifactorial analysis of naturalistic data from a corpus of present-day British English. We find that lexical-semantic dependency constitutes the strongest constraint on serialization followed by the weight-related, syntactic one. More specifically, our results show that although syntactic minimization has much greater data coverage – it applies to a much larger proportion of the data – the lexical-semantic factor has a much greater effect size, thus is more seldomly violated. In addition to assessing the relative importance of the two minimization principles, we also investigate the effects of other potential codeterminants of PP order, namely the  >  >  generalization and pragmatic information status. Our results suggest that these play statistically significant but tangential roles in PP ordering.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language Variation and Change Vol. 25, Issue 1, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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