Title: Diachronic Probabilistic Grammar
Authors: Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt # ×
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Elsok
Series Title: English Language and Linguistics vol:19 issue:3 pages:41-68
Abstract: The paper sketches a novel, usage-based framework – Diachronic Probabilistic Grammar (DPG) – to
analyze variation and change in diachrony. The approach builds on previous work in the Probabilistic
Grammar tradition (see, for example, Bresnan 2007; Bresnan and Ford 2010) demonstrating, based on
converging experimental and observational evidence, that syntactic knowledge is to some extent
probabilistic, and that language users have excellent predictive abilities. What takes center stage in the
approach is how contextual predictors (such as, for example, the principle of end weight) constrain
linguistic variation. DPG is specifically interested in the extent to which such probabilistic constraints
are (un)stable in the course of time. To highlight the diagnostic potential of the DPG framework, the
paper explores three case studies: the development of the alternation between non-finite and finite
complementation in the Late Modern English period, recent changes in the genitive alternation in the
late 20th century, and a cross-constructional analysis of parallelisms in the development of the genitive
and the dative alternation in the Late Modern English period.
ISSN: 1598-9453
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: AT
Appears in Collections:Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL), Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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