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Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage

Brian MacWhinney, Andrej Malchukov, and Edith Moravcsik


This book examines the issue of competing motivations in grammar and language use. The term “competing motivations” refers to the conflicting factors that shape the content and form of grammatical rules and which speakers and addressees need to contend with when expressing themselves, or when trying to comprehend messages. For example, there are on-going competitions between the speaker's interests and the addressee's needs, or between constraints imposed by grammar and those imposed by online processing. These competitions impact a wide variety of systems, including case marking, agreement, a ... More

Keywords: grammar, usage, competition, conflict, child language acquisition, second-language acquisition, historical change, language processing, language typology, motivations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198709848
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Brian MacWhinney, editor
Carnegie Mellon University

Andrej Malchukov, editor
Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

Edith Moravcsik, editor
University of Winconsin-Milwaukee

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1 Introduction

Edith Moravcsik

Part I Competition in Syntax: Grammatical Relations and Word Order

3 Animate object fronting in Dutch: A production study

Monique J. A. Lamers and Helen de Hoop

7 Competition in argument interpretation: Evidence from the neurobiology of language

Ina Bornkessel‐Schlesewsky and Matthias Schlesewsky

10 Competing cues in early syntactic development

Grzegorz Krajewski and Elena Lieven

Part II Competition in Morphosyntax and the Lexicon

11 Conflicting vs. convergent vs. interdependent motivations in morphology

Wolfgang U. Dressler, Gary Libben, and Katharina Korecky‐Kröll

Part III General Issues and the Extension of the Approach

16 Motivating competitions

John W. Du Bois

18 Where do motivations compete?

Frederick J. Newmeyer

End Matter