Fwd: Complexity

Daniel Everett dan at daneverett.org
Fri Mar 18 14:45:11 UTC 2011

This is an important point. As Ong and Goody have shown, literacy can affect grammar in interesting ways. That is another example, by the way, of culture playing a direct role in shaping (at least parts of) grammars.


On Mar 18, 2011, at 9:59 AM, Angus B. Grieve-Smith wrote:

> This may have been addressed earlier in the discussion, but if so, I missed it.
> As Givón and others have written in the past, written varieties of language provide more time for editing, which allows people to use and maintain more complex structures. A community of specialist scholars can enable even more elaborate structures to exist, and these are often attracted to liturgical and poetic languages. In contrast, spontaneous conversation allows almost no time for editing, and generally requires a minimum amount of content to be conveyed.
> I would suggest we keep these factors in mind as possible motivators and enablers of complexity.
> -- 
> 				-Angus B. Grieve-Smith
> 				Saint John's University
> 				grvsmth at panix.com

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