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

Martin Haspelmath


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  "inLanguage": {
    "alternateName": "eng", 
    "@type": "Language", 
    "name": "English"
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  "description": "<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>", 
  "license": "https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode", 
  "creator": [
    {
      "affiliation": "MPI-SHH Jena & Leipzig University", 
      "@type": "Person", 
      "name": "Martin Haspelmath"
    }
  ], 
  "headline": "Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?", 
  "image": "https://zenodo.org/static/img/logos/zenodo-gradient-round.svg", 
  "datePublished": "2019-03-05", 
  "url": "https://zenodo.org/record/2583804", 
  "@context": "https://schema.org/", 
  "identifier": "https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2583804", 
  "@id": "https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2583804", 
  "@type": "ScholarlyArticle", 
  "name": "Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?"
}
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