Linguistic typology requires crosslinguistic formal categories

  • Newmeyer F
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An important trend in linguistic typology The first paper in the first issue of this journal (Kirby 1997) took on the question of the Keenan-Comrie accessibility hierarchy for relativization (Keenan & Comrie 1977). In a tightly argued presentation, Kirby showed that the effects of the hierarchy fall out from "competition" between two types of complexity. One is the structural complexity of the relative clause, which is calculated in part by counting the number of nodes dominating the trace or pronoun within the NP dominating the relative clause (see Hawkins 1994). The other is morphological complexity, which is calculated in part on the basis of the number of morphemes that need to be processed.

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  • Frederick J. Newmeyer

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