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Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage$
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Brian MacWhinney, Andrej Malchukov, and Edith Moravcsik

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198709848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198709848.001.0001

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Where do motivations compete?

Where do motivations compete?

(p.299) 18 Where do motivations compete?
Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage

Frederick J. Newmeyer

Oxford University Press

This chapter is devoted to analyzing the locus of competing functional motivations. There are, broadly speaking, two positions on this issue, called “direct competition” (DC) and “indirect competition” (IC). In DC, there is direct synchronic linkage between properties of particular grammars and functional motivations for those properties. In IC, there is no direct linkage. Several arguments lead to the conclusion that IC is correct. In a nutshell, we can pinpoint parsing ease, iconicity, etc. as motivating factors for grammatical structure, even though, contra DC, there is no hope of identifying parsing or iconicity as motivators for particular structures or rules in particular languages.

Keywords:   competing motivations, conventionality, direct competition, emergent grammar, functional explanation, iconicity, indirect competition, lexical government, Optimality Theory, preposition‐stranding, processing

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