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The Emergence of Functions in Language$
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Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Marielle Butters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198844297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198844297.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Conclusions and implications

Conclusions and implications

(p.297) 15 Conclusions and implications
The Emergence of Functions in Language

Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Marielle Butters

Oxford University Press

The descriptions of individual languages demonstrate that their grammatical systems encode different functions. Given common physiological make up, common biological and social needs, and common physical characteristics of the environment (for languages spoken in the same geographical area), one must ask why grammatical systems encode different functions. The present book has offered methodology to study this question as well as a number of conditions and motivations for the emergence of functions which include: forced interpretation; avoiding systemic ambiguity; initial state; principle of functional transparency; properties of lexical items; metonymic change; opportunistic emergence of functions; and language contact. The study also postulates that the availability of rich inflectional systems provides opportunities for the emergence of new types of functions. The study concludes with a set of open questions, viz. whether there is a hierarchy of which functions are grammaticalized more often, and under what conditions a given function becomes a default value of a given formal means.

Keywords:   inflectional coding, differences across languages, properties of lexical items

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