What is it about?

Rhodenburg and Mondorf 2003 collects 16 chapters investigating variation: Students of Linguistics learn "free" variation is a phenomenon where multiple forms fulfill one function (e.g., "look up a word" and "look a word up"); contributors gather occurrences primarily using corpora submitted to various mathematical analyses to determine if variation is truly free or contextually conditioned.

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Why is it important?

Sometimes languages appear to be non-configurational, or they seem to scramble words around into positions within of sentences, whereby one word next to another (e.g., XY) may be separated by other words/phrases inside of that sentence (e.g., X...Y).


I believe this review contributes to a broader debate concerning whether words are arranged in a sentence using a linear principle of organization or whether words involve one basic word order that can re-arrange itself (i.e., transformation or process) by means of a set of grammatical operations.

Dr. Tully J. Thibeau
University of Montana

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This page is a summary of: Review of Rohdenburg & Mondorf (2003): Determinants of Grammatical Variation in English, Studies in Language, November 2005, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/sl.29.3.08thi.
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