Sum: term

Fri Jan 16 12:54:30 UTC 1998

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
I apologize for responding late to this discussion. The
state of emergency has limited email opportunities up here.
And unfortunately I am not a woman. Anyway,...
Though I don't generally engage in terminological matters,
it did strike me that the discussion and terms suggested
addressed several different issues which should not, as
Trask pointed out kind of, be covered under a single
unifying term. "Sturtevant's paradox" and the "Morphologization
of Phonological Rules' refer to relationships between
phonology and morphology only. A few of the suggestions
I ddint' really understand (perhaps some of my email is
still making its way to my door), e.g.," Hydra's razor"
and "code shift".
"Equilibrium" seems like a label for a general diachronic
property of languages (if, indeed, it is one -- I personally
do not use the term 'simplification' because (1) I don't
have, and haven't seen, any coherent 'simplicity' metric
for grammars and (2) I can't figure out, for many e.g.
phonological changes that appear a priori to be 'simplifications'
[loss of voicing contrasts in stops, loss of voiceless nasals,
etc.] how they made anything ni the langauges in question any
more complicated -- this leads me to believe that our intuitive
sense of simplicity, if we are to retain a hypothesis of
equilibrium, can't be the right one), rather than for a
specific change of the type under discussion.
"Markedness" and "naturalness conflict" (aside from the fact
that I don't believe in 'markedness' or 'naturalness' -- in
a technical sense -- either) seem to describe a state ("conflict")
as well, rather than an event. [Politicians'
attempt to sanitize 'The Korean Conflict' and avoid invoking
the War Powers Act notwithstanding.]
On the other hand, "Tunnel Vision Principle", "Blindness
Principle", "Schlimmbesserung",  and "local improvement"
or "Local simplification" fail to capture the fact that
there was, allegedly, a 'compensating' change in another
component. Only "diachronic compensation" really does that.
Nevertheless, the 'Tunel Vision' terms turn out,  in my opinion,
to be the better way to state it. After all, in the cases discussed
surely the new morphological system of Spanish didn't come to
have the properties it did to 'compensate' for the changes in the
vowel system -- the morphological changes were the automatic
and epiphenomenal effects of the phonological reanalysis.
Surely we can all think of just as many cases in which a
phonological change gave rise to the elimination of morphological
rules or alternations.

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