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

Martin Haspelmath

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<dc:creator>Martin Haspelmath</dc:creator>
<dc:date>2019-03-05</dc:date>
<dc:description>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.</dc:description>
<dc:identifier>https://zenodo.org/record/2583804</dc:identifier>
<dc:identifier>10.5281/zenodo.2583804</dc:identifier>
<dc:identifier>oai:zenodo.org:2583804</dc:identifier>
<dc:language>eng</dc:language>
<dc:publisher>Language Science Press</dc:publisher>
<dc:relation>doi:10.5281/zenodo.2583803</dc:relation>
<dc:relation>url:https://zenodo.org/communities/langscipress</dc:relation>
<dc:rights>info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess</dc:rights>
<dc:title>Can cross-linguistic regularities be explained by constraints on change?</dc:title>
<dc:type>info:eu-repo/semantics/bookPart</dc:type>
<dc:type>publication-section</dc:type>
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