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Why is it important?

This work is important because the idea that child learners introduce changes into languages over time is among the oldest ideas in linguistic science (dating back to the Neogrammarians of the 19th Century, and also alluded to in Charles Darwin's work), but it is an inference from completed changes, and has very rarely been tested for whether it is compatible with child language patterns. Do children learning their first language(s) actually behave in ways that are consistent with children driving the language changes of today (and tomorrow)?


Another important component of this paper is that it begins to link work on language change in USAGE to that on the REPRESENTATIONS that underlie usage. These approaches do not often directly interact, but form an essential nexus for any linking theory between first language acquisition and language change.

Ailís Cournane
New York University

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This page is a summary of: Grammatical representations versus productive patterns in change theories, Theoretical Linguistics, December 2019, De Gruyter,
DOI: 10.1515/tl-2019-0023.
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