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Grammatisk komplexitet och kompensationshypotesen

Heinonen, Cilla LU (2012) ALSK11 20112
General Linguistics
Abstract
It is a widespread and politically correct view among linguists that all languages are equally complex. It is assumed that a language with low complexity in one linguistic domain, e.g. morphology compensates for that with a greater amount of complexity in another domain, e.g. syntax. This is called the compensation hypothesis. The aim of this essay is to test whether such a tradeoff does exist, and if languages thereby do differ in overall complexity as well as morphological and syntactical complexity. David Gil asserts in his paper How complex are isolating languages? (Gil 2008) that isolating languages may be of less overall complexity than non-isolating languages. This essay provides support for his claim that the compensation... (More)
It is a widespread and politically correct view among linguists that all languages are equally complex. It is assumed that a language with low complexity in one linguistic domain, e.g. morphology compensates for that with a greater amount of complexity in another domain, e.g. syntax. This is called the compensation hypothesis. The aim of this essay is to test whether such a tradeoff does exist, and if languages thereby do differ in overall complexity as well as morphological and syntactical complexity. David Gil asserts in his paper How complex are isolating languages? (Gil 2008) that isolating languages may be of less overall complexity than non-isolating languages. This essay provides support for his claim that the compensation hypothesis does not exist, even if one tests more languages and grammatical categories than he did. Languages do not compensate for e.g. low morphological complexity with a greater syntactical complexity or vice versa. Furthermore, this essay attempts to investigate whether there is a visible correlation between linguistic complexity and socio-cultural factors, namely the amount of speakers, based on two theories. The first theory is the one made by Daniel Everett that the culture a language is spoken in affects the grammar and that languages spoken in small groups might be of a lower complexity than bigger languages and the other theory being the one by Gary Lupyan and Rick Dale that big languages become morphologically less complex than smaller languages. No viewable correlation is found in this study, but the amount of languages included in this study is too small to make any general claims about the two theories. (Less)
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author
Heinonen, Cilla LU
supervisor
organization
course
ALSK11 20112
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Dale, Gary, Lupyan, Daniel, Everett, subordination, compensation hypothesis, syntactical complexity, linguistic complexity, morphological complexity, Rick
language
Swedish
id
2296010
date added to LUP
2012-02-01 09:22:25
date last changed
2012-02-01 09:22:25
@misc{2296010,
  abstract     = {It is a widespread and politically correct view among linguists that all languages are equally complex. It is assumed that a language with low complexity in one linguistic domain, e.g. morphology compensates for that with a greater amount of complexity in another domain, e.g. syntax. This is called the compensation hypothesis. The aim of this essay is to test whether such a tradeoff does exist, and if languages thereby do differ in overall complexity as well as morphological and syntactical complexity. David Gil asserts in his paper How complex are isolating languages? (Gil 2008) that isolating languages may be of less overall complexity than non-isolating languages. This essay provides support for his claim that the compensation hypothesis does not exist, even if one tests more languages and grammatical categories than he did. Languages do not compensate for e.g. low morphological complexity with a greater syntactical complexity or vice versa. Furthermore, this essay attempts to investigate whether there is a visible correlation between linguistic complexity and socio-cultural factors, namely the amount of speakers, based on two theories. The first theory is the one made by Daniel Everett that the culture a language is spoken in affects the grammar and that languages spoken in small groups might be of a lower complexity than bigger languages and the other theory being the one by Gary Lupyan and Rick Dale that big languages become morphologically less complex than smaller languages. No viewable correlation is found in this study, but the amount of languages included in this study is too small to make any general claims about the two theories.},
  author       = {Heinonen, Cilla},
  keyword      = {Dale,Gary,Lupyan,Daniel,Everett,subordination,compensation hypothesis,syntactical complexity,linguistic complexity,morphological complexity,Rick},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Grammatisk komplexitet och kompensationshypotesen},
  year         = {2012},
}