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Summary Details

Query:   Grammatical Complexity, Part II
Author:  Kaius Sinnemäki
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Morphology

Summary:   Regarding the query and Continuation of LINGUIST List issue 15.3529: I recently posted a query on grammatical complexity on LINGUIST-list and FUNKNET in order to find any relevant research already being conducted on the subject. Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon has worked on systemic typology and offered four articles by her and August Fenk, which are very relevant to the question, below: Fenk, A. & Fenk-Oczlon, G. (1993). Menzerath's Law and the Constant Flow of Linguistic Information. In: R. K?hler & B. Rieger (eds.) Contributions to Quantitative Linguistics, 11-31. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers Fenk-Oczlon, G. & Fenk, A. (1999). Cognition, Quantitative Linguistics, and Systemic Typology. Linguistic Typology, 3, 151 - 177. Fenk-Oczlon, G. & A. Fenk 2004. Crosslinguistic correlations between size of syllables, number of cases, and adposition order. In G. Fenk-Oczlon & Ch. Winkler (eds.), Sprache und Nat?rlichkeit, Gedenkband f?r Willi Mayerthaler. T?bingen: Narr. Fenk-Oczlon, G. & A. Fenk 2004. Systemic typology and crosslinguistic regularities. In V. Solovyev & V. Polyakov (eds.) Text Processing and Cognitive Technologie, Moscow MISA, pp. 229-234. Miriam Meyerhoff commented on the difficulty of defining complexity, especially when it comes to comparing probabilistic and/or categorical marking of a feature at the syntax-discourse interface. She suggested a chapter of hers due to appear in the Handbook of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics and two of Jeff Siegels articles: (2004), Morphological Elaboration, Journal of Pidgin and Creole languages 19 (2): 333-362, AND (2004), Morphological simplicity in Pidgins and Creoles, Journal of Pidgin and Creole languages 19 (1): 139-162). David A. Havas suggested two articles on what Zipf's law means for language and communication. McCowan, B., Doyle, L., and Hanser, S. F., 2002. Using information theory to assess the diversity, complexity, and development of communicative repertoires. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 116, 2. Ferrier i Cancho, R., & Sole, R. V., 2003. Least effort and the origins of scaling in human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 3. Patrick Juola mentioned his article on measuring linguistic complexity with a method based on the notion of Kolmogorov complexity (Juola, P. 1998. Measuring Linguistic Complexity: The Morphological Tier, Journal of Quantitative Linguistics 5(3):206-13). He managed to show that languages vary in their morphological complexity, and that their syntactic complexity revealed almost exactly the opposite tendency. Very relevant article. Thanks again to all who responded; I have benefited a lot from this. I would be happy to receive any further comments or suggestions concerning grammatical complexity. Kaius Sinnem?ki, M.A., Researcher General Linguistics, University of Helsinki P.O Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20A) 00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND Email:

LL Issue: 15.3530
Date Posted: 19-Dec-2004
Original Query: Read original query


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