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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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Resolving alignment conflicts: A competing motivations approach

Resolving alignment conflicts: A competing motivations approach

(p.16) (p.17) 2 Resolving alignment conflicts: A competing motivations approach
Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage

Andrej Malchukov

Oxford University Press

The present chapter addresses a thorny question of whether individual constructions reveal alignment preferences with respect to monotransitive (accusative vs. ergative) and ditransitive (indirective vs. secundative) alignment. It is argued that typological variation in this domain can be explained through interaction of two general factors, Harmony embodying the analogical tendency for coding/behavior matching, and Bias embodying intrinsic alignment preferences dictated by functional properties of individual constructions. It is shown that interaction between these two factors can both explain the crosslinguistically recurrent patterns of alignment (arising in situations when both motivations prefer the same alignment pattern) and crosslinguistic variation (arising in situations when the two motivations are in conflict).

Keywords:   syntactic alignment, ergativity, ditransitive, alignment preference, Bias, Harmony, competing motivations, Optimality Theory

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