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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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Patterns in competing motivations and the interaction of principles

Patterns in competing motivations and the interaction of principles

(p.54) 4 Patterns in competing motivations and the interaction of principles
Competing Motivations in Grammar and Usage

John A. Hawkins

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines empirical patterns in data from language performance and in the distribution of grammatical variants across languages and uses them to shed light on how multiple principles work together. Some data from (second) language acquisition are also briefly considered. Three types of general patterns are observed. The first set illustrate a Degree of Preference generalization for individual principles. The second set illustrate Cooperation, whereby the more principles there are that define a collective preference for a common set of outputs {P}, the greater is the preference for and size of that {P}. The third set involve Competition and they suggest that when there is competition between two principles A and B, the relative strength of their outputs, {A} from A and {B} from B, will be in proportion to the degree of preference for their respective outputs.

Keywords:   competing structures, efficiency principles, Maximize Online Processing, Minimize Domains, multiple factors, Performance-Grammar Correspondence Hypothesis (PGCH), processing ease, relative strength, relative clauses, second language acquisition

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