Evolutionary change, 'functional' and 'social'
dan.everett at MAN.AC.UK
Sat Nov 23 08:34:26 UTC 2002
On Friday, November 22, 2002, at 05:56 pm, Bill Croft wrote:
> As Dan Everett observes, one must distinguish between
> innovation (actuation) and propagation for evolutionary change
> (those that occur by replication), such as language change. For
> that reason, there is no incompatibility between Labov's
> critique of functionalism and what I proposed (pace Dick
> Hudson). Only innovation is 'functional'; propagation is social.
> Labov and I agree on that point. But I'm not sure who has said
> actuation/innovation is 'social', as Dan has stated in his
> (Actually, I am too hasty in equating 'actuation' with
> 'innovation' here. As far as I understand Weinreich, Labov &
> Herzog 1968, the actuation question is both the question of how
> innovation occurs and the question of when & where it occurs.
> The latter question is tantamount to deterministic prediction.
> This doesn't really have a place in a probabilistic model such
> as evolutionary change, as several here and elsewhere have
My definition of 'actuation' is the point (social/temporal) at which an
idiolectical change begins to propagate. It was influenced by Weinrich,
Labov, and Herzog, but is not identical to their view.
Professor of Phonetics and Phonology
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Department Fax: 44-161-275-3187
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