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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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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;This is a highly critical review of David Lightfoots 1999 book &amp;quot;The development of language&amp;quot;, which argues that there are no principles of grammatical change, so that &amp;ldquo;historicist&amp;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 &amp;ldquo;growth&amp;rdquo; (i.e. acquisition) of an individual&amp;rsquo;s biological grammar, which may end up with a different parameter setting from the parent&amp;rsquo;s generation when the trigger experience changes. This review is very critical of most aspects of Lightfoot&amp;#39;s theory: his strange notions of &amp;ldquo;language&amp;rdquo; and &amp;ldquo;social grammar&amp;rdquo;, his failure to say anything meaningful about &amp;ldquo;nongrammatical changes&amp;rdquo; (i.e. apparently the great majority of changes), his unconstrained theoretical innovation of &amp;ldquo;diglossia&amp;rdquo;, his complete misunderstanding of the neogrammarian revolution, and his irresponsible ignoring of much of contemporary work on language change.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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