The simplicity of polysynthesis

28 марта 2018 года
аудитория П-11
начало в 18:00


Johanna Nichols

Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of California, Berkeley 


Аннотация доклада

There are many cases where polysynthetic languages spread in contact or absorb substrata, situations that are known to decomplexify languages; or patterns such as egophoricity and hierarchical person indexing diffuse in contact or arise spontaneously. Measured by the usual calculi of linguistic complexity, these things are extremely complex, yet in these contact situations they behave as though they were simple. All of them involve the relational, non-paradigmatic side of grammar. Here I propose a complexity measure for the relational side of grammar, on its own terms, and show that it is in fact simple, regular, and efficient. If measuring the complexity of relationality is straightforward in today's linguistics, describing relationality is not, and providing consistently for it will radically change descriptive grammar as we know it.