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Are there principles of grammatical change (A review article of David Lightfoot's book "The development of language")

Haspelmath, Martin


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    "description": "<p>This is a highly critical review of David Lightfoots 1999 book &quot;The development of language&quot;, which argues that there are no principles of grammatical change, so that &ldquo;historicist&rdquo; or deterministic approaches to diachronic change are misguided. Instead, Lightfoot argues that language change can only be understood by taking the perspective of the &ldquo;growth&rdquo; (i.e. acquisition) of an individual&rsquo;s biological grammar, which may end up with a different parameter setting from the parent&rsquo;s generation when the trigger experience changes. This review is very critical of most aspects of Lightfoot&#39;s theory: his strange notions of &ldquo;language&rdquo; and &ldquo;social grammar&rdquo;, his failure to say anything meaningful about &ldquo;nongrammatical changes&rdquo; (i.e. apparently the great majority of changes), his unconstrained theoretical innovation of &ldquo;diglossia&rdquo;, his complete misunderstanding of the neogrammarian revolution, and his irresponsible ignoring of much of contemporary work on language change.</p>", 
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    "title": "Are there principles of grammatical change (A review article of David Lightfoot's book \"The development of language\")", 
    "journal": {
      "volume": "35", 
      "pages": "579-595", 
      "title": "Journal of Linguistics"
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    "keywords": [
      "language change, neogrammarians, diachrony"
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    "publication_date": "1999-11-01", 
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