Semantics

Download Language Change at the Syntax-Semantics Interface by Agnes Jäger, Doris Penka PDF

By Agnes Jäger, Doris Penka

This quantity specializes in the interaction of syntactic and semantic elements in language switch. The contributions draw on information from a variety of Indo-European languages and handle the query of ways syntactic and semantic swap are associated and even if either are ruled via comparable constraints, ideas and systematic mechanisms. the quantity will entice students in ancient linguistics and formal theories of syntax and semantics.

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Language Change at the Syntax-Semantics Interface

This quantity specializes in the interaction of syntactic and semantic components in language swap. The contributions draw on information from quite a few Indo-European languages and tackle the query of ways syntactic and semantic switch are associated and no matter if either are ruled by means of related constraints, ideas and systematic mechanisms.

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It is therefore not productive to draw a rigid dividing line between lexical and propositional semantics in diachronic work. The application of modern compositional theories of meaning can be instrumental in pursuing a better understanding of semantic change. A number of insights gained from grammaticalization theory have been captured in recent diachronic work within the generative framework (cf. g. Roberts and Roussou 2003; van Gelderen 2004, 2011; and Section 4 below). Generative syntactic analyses are usually coupled with a semantic mechanism of “bleaching” or “weakening”, which has been first accounted for in a formal framework by von Fintel (1995).

G. modal properties), “logical” being defined as invariant under isomorphism (Roberts and Roussou 2003: 218–224). Directional change in grammaticalization phenomena has been seen as “uniformly generalizing” also by Kiparsky (2012). Breitbarth (this volume) interprets the semantic change taking place in grammaticalization as “semantic abstraction”. , potentially active, features; semantic abstraction is understood as loss of features associated with lexical items. In her case study on English should, she identifies a mechanism of abstraction from posteriority to hypothetical potentiality; as a consequence of semantic abstraction, movement to higher positions becomes possible.

Roberts (1993), with his “Least Effort Strategy”, formalizes simplicity in terms of “shortest derivation”: “Representations assigned to sentences of the input to acquisition should be such that they contain the set of the shortest possible chains (consistent with (a) principles of grammars, (b) other aspects of the trigger experience)” (1993: 156). This formulation points to a central tenet of generative historical syntax, which clearly has strong ties with analogous synchronic considerations on representational and derivational economy (see Hornstein, Nunes, and Grohmann 2005: 330–365 for a survey): movement is costly, and dispreferred in acquisition.

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