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Book Sections Year : 2017

Modeling Language Change

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Abstract

Language evolution is the subject of various theoretical studies, following two main paths: one, where language is viewed as a code between meanings and forms to express them, with a focus on language as a social convention; and the other defining language as a set of grammatical rules governing the production of utterances, evolution being the outcome of mistakes in the acquisition process. We claim that none of the current models provides a satisfactory account of the grammaticalization phenomenon, a linguistic process by which words acquire a grammatical status. We argue that this limitation is mainly due to the way these models represent language and communication mechanisms. We therefore introduce a new framework, the " grammatheme, " as a tool which formalizes in an unambiguous way different concepts and mechanisms involved in grammaticalization. The model especially includes an inference mechanism triggering new grammaticalization processes. We present promising preliminary results of a numerical implementation and discuss a possible research program based on this framework.
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hal-01481919 , version 1 (03-03-2017)

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Quentin Feltgen, Benjamin Fagard, Jean-Pierre Nadal. Modeling Language Change: The Pitfall of Grammaticalization. Language in Complexity – The Emerging Meaning, Springer, pp.49-72, 2017, 978-3-319-29481-0. ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-29483-4_3⟩. ⟨hal-01481919⟩
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