Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English by Britta Mondorf, Günter Rohdenburg

By Britta Mondorf, Günter Rohdenburg

The criteria investigated within the quantity contain the subsequent: phonological affects (such because the precept of rhythmic alternation and optimum syllable structure), frequency, pervasive semantic and pragmatic elements (including iconicity, markedness, grammaticalization and typological tendencies), details constitution, processing complexity and horror aequi (the avoidance of id effects).

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Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English

The standards investigated within the quantity contain the next: phonological impacts (such because the precept of rhythmic alternation and optimum syllable structure), frequency, pervasive semantic and pragmatic facets (including iconicity, markedness, grammaticalization and typological tendencies), info constitution, processing complexity and horror aequi (the avoidance of id effects).

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This single most important empirical result and its theoretical implications are undisputed. It should be pointed out, perhaps, that this result is equally compatible with the predictions of String Frequency and Transitional Probability. To clarify which of the measures is superior in the present case, we now have to turn to a reconsideration of the actual data. In order to test the effects of String Frequency, Bush posits an arbitrary cut-off point of five occurrences that differentiates high-frequency from lowfrequency sequences.

As can be seen from the last but one row of Table 10, compared to a random ranking of the 24 auxiliary verb forms, String Frequency and Transitional Probability and also the combined factor (SF χ TP) reduce deviation from the Actual Coalescence order considerably. While a random ranking produces a total deviation from the Actual Coalescence ranking of 202 ranks, the total deviations for String Frequency and Transitional Probability, and also SF χ TP, are reduced to less than half of the random Frequency as a determinant in grammatical variation and change 51 value: SF and the combined factor each have a total deviation of 80 ranks, TP a deviation of 92.

Since it developed from a different semantics ('lack' originally, not 'desire') and a non-modal syntactic construction (impersonal initially, taking two nominal arguments, but not infinitival complements), it had to undergo a series of qualitative changes before the volitional WANT TO construction could at all rise in frequency. The problem of circularity in Haspelmath's Frequency Condition on Entrenchment in Grammaticalization, caused by the possible emergence of grammatical items from a frequency of zero, is thus avoided by allowing for two developmental paths: 1) The lexical source construction involves a frequent lexical item (such as GO or BE) which is initially rare in a specific syntactic environment 48 Manfred Krug (such as BE GOING TO for the expression of intention, or BE (on/at) -ing for the expression of an ongoing action), but during grammaticalization spreads in this particular construction; or: 2) An infrequent lexical source word or construction develops one sense which is a notion that is basic to human experience and communication (such as volition, intention, future or past), which can spread and become grammaticalized.

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