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Making the invisible uninvisible: the role of analogy in language change

It is plausible that language change is caused by analogy in cases where an expression seems to change under the influence of other, similar expressions. Analogy, however, is often criticised as an explanation for language change. Since analogy is a mental process, it is invisible and it is subsequently considered to be impossible to prove. This project puts forward specific predictions about language change that should prove to be correct if change is indeed caused by analogy. The goal is to provide independent evidence for process of analogy. With this goal in mind, several case studies have been carried out examining the historical development of adnumeral markers in English (e.g., about in after about five hours they could speak to each other on the radio). The development of such adnumeral markers goes hand in hand with formal and semantic changes, which can be assumed to be driven by analogy. Several aspects of these changes will be examined, i.e., de different stages of development, their speed, priming effects and patterns of individual variation. 

Date:1 Oct 2018  →  Today
Keywords:language change, analogy, English preposition
Disciplines:Linguistics, Theory and methodology of linguistics, Other languages and literary studies
Project type:PhD project