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# Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?

Martin Haspelmath

### Citation Style Language JSON Export

{
"publisher": "Language Science Press",
"DOI": "10.5281/zenodo.2583804",
"ISBN": "978-3-96110-147-4",
"container_title": "Explanation in typology",
"language": "eng",
"title": "Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?",
"issued": {
"date-parts": [
[
2019,
3,
5
]
]
},
"abstract": "<p>This paper addresses a recent trend in the study of language variation and universals, namely to attribute cross-linguistic patterns to diachrony, rather than to other causal factors. This is an interesting suggestion, and I try to make the basic concepts clearer, by distinguishing clearly between language-particular regularities, universal tendencies, and mere recurrent patterns, as well as three kinds of causal factors (preferences, constraints, restrictions). I make four claims: (i) Explanations may involve diachrony in different ways; (ii) for causal explanations of universal tendencies, one needs to invoke mutational constraints (change constraints); (iii) in addition to mutational constraints, we need functional-adaptive constraints as well, as is clear from cases of multi-convergence; and (iv) successful functional-adaptive explanations do not depend on understanding the precise pathways of change.</p>",
"author": [
{
"family": "Martin Haspelmath"
}
],
"page": "1-23",
"publisher_place": "Berlin",
"type": "chapter",
"id": "2583804"
}
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