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The Linguistic Cycle Language Change and the Language Faculty

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The Linguistic Cycle Language Change and the Language Faculty by van Gelderen, Elly, 9780199756049
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  • ISBN: 9780199756049 | 019975604X
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/8/2011
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Elly van Gelderen provides examples of linguistic cycles from a number of languages and language families, along with an account of the linguistic cycle in terms of minimalist economy principles. A cycle involves grammaticalization from lexical to functional category followed by renewal. Some well-known cycles involve negatives, where full negative phrases are reanalyzed as words and affixes and are then renewed by full phrases again. Verbal agreement is another example: full pronouns are reanalyzed as agreement markers and are renewed again. Each chapter provides data on a separate cycle from a myriad of languages. Van Gelderen argues that the cross-linguistic similarities can be seen as Economy Principles present in the initial cognitive system or Universal Grammar. She further claims that some of the cycles can be used to classify a language as analytic or synthetic, and she provides insight into the shape of the earliest human language and how it evolved.

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