A descriptive grammar of Huastec (Potosino dialect) by Barbara Wedemeyer Edmonson PDF

By Barbara Wedemeyer Edmonson

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Frequency as a determinant in grammatical variation and change 33 As was indicated above, entrenchment is likely to play a role in the fixing of larger phrases and clauses where an older syntactic pattern has been preserved until the present day. One might argue though, that here we are dealing with rather more fossilized or idiomatized language. Consider sequences like the following (emphasis added): (26) How goes it? Have you sold anything? (BNC ANF 1049) (27) (28) Well, I'll go on my own if need be.

1996), has tested the effects of String Frequency and Transitional Probability in word-boundary palatalization. Relevant examples include such pairs as don 'tyou and cat you; or would you and good you. Bush observes that the first dyad in each of these pairs is far more likely to undergo palatalization than the second. The most likely pronunciations of the (former) word boundaries are thus [-tj-] in don't you\ [-d3~] in would you; [-tj-] in cat you; and [-dj-] in good you. Bush finds clear evidence that frequency is the principal factor conditioning higher palatalization ratios.

30 The fact that the simple test statistic of String Frequency often better predicts the coalescence of adjacent items than the somewhat more complex measure of Transitional Probability suggests taking a different stance. At least since the early 20th century (Vienna Circle, Wittgenstein) it has become the dominant tendency in the philosophy of science to favour simple (or 'elegant') theories and descriptions over complex ones. 31 On that view, the simpler factor is to be considered superior if its predictions are equally accurate as those of a more complex factor.

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A descriptive grammar of Huastec (Potosino dialect) by Barbara Wedemeyer Edmonson


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