Journal article Open Access

Frequency vs. iconicity in explaining grammatical asymmetries

Haspelmath, Martin

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  <identifier identifierType="URL"></identifier>
      <creatorName>Haspelmath, Martin</creatorName>
      <nameIdentifier nameIdentifierScheme="ORCID" schemeURI="">0000-0003-2100-8493</nameIdentifier>
      <affiliation>Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology</affiliation>
    <title>Frequency vs. iconicity in explaining grammatical asymmetries</title>
    <subject>usage frequency, iconicity, language economy</subject>
    <date dateType="Issued">2008-01-01</date>
  <resourceType resourceTypeGeneral="Text">Journal article</resourceType>
    <alternateIdentifier alternateIdentifierType="url"></alternateIdentifier>
    <relatedIdentifier relatedIdentifierType="DOI" relationType="IsIdenticalTo">10.1515/COG.2008.001</relatedIdentifier>
    <rights rightsURI="">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International</rights>
    <rights rightsURI="info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess">Open Access</rights>
    <description descriptionType="Abstract">&lt;p&gt;This paper argues that three widely accepted motivating factors subsumed under the broad heading of iconicity, namely iconicity of quantity, iconicity of complexity and iconicity of cohesion, in fact have no role in explaining grammatical asymmetries and should be discarded. The iconicity accounts of the relevant phenomena have been proposed by authorities like Jakobson, Haiman and Giv&amp;oacute;n, but I argue that these linguists did not su&amp;permil;ciently con- sider alternative usage-based explanations in terms of frequency of use. A closer look shows that the well-known Zipfian e&amp;curren;ects of frequency of use (leading to shortness and fusion) can be made responsible for all of the al- leged iconicity e&amp;curren;ects, and initial corpus data for a range of phenomena confirm the correctness of the approach.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
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