15.3530, Sum: Grammatical Complexity, Part II

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LINGUIST List: Vol-15-3530. Sun Dec 19 2004. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 15.3530, Sum: Grammatical Complexity, Part II

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Date: 19-Dec-2004
From: Kaius Sinnemäki < ksinnema at ling.helsinki.fi >
Subject: Grammatical Complexity, Part II 

-------------------------Message 1 ---------------------------------- 
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2004 11:52:17
From: Kaius Sinnemäki < ksinnema at ling.helsinki.fi >
Subject: Grammatical Complexity, Part II 

Regarding the query http://linguist.emich.edu/issues/15/15-3317.html

Continuation of LINGUIST List issue 15.3529, Grammatical Complexity, Part I:  

I recently posted a query on grammatical complexity on LINGUIST-list and 
FUNKNET in order to find any relevant research already being conducted on
the subject.


Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon has worked on systemic typology and offered four
articles by her and August Fenk, which are very relevant to the
question, below:

Fenk, A. & Fenk-Oczlon, G. (1993). Menzerath's Law and the Constant
Flow of Linguistic Information. In: R. Köhler & B. Rieger (eds.)         
Contributions to Quantitative Linguistics, 11-31. Dordrecht: Kluwer
Academic Publishers.

Fenk-Oczlon, G. & Fenk, A. (1999). Cognition, Quantitative
Linguistics, and Systemic Typology. Linguistic Typology, 3, 151 - 177.

Fenk-Oczlon, G. & A. Fenk 2004. Crosslinguistic correlations between
size of syllables, number of cases, and adposition order. In G.
Fenk-Oczlon & Ch. Winkler (eds.), Sprache und Natürlichkeit, Gedenkband
für Willi Mayerthaler. Tübingen: Narr.

Fenk-Oczlon, G. & A. Fenk 2004. Systemic typology and crosslinguistic
regularities. In V. Solovyev & V. Polyakov (eds.) Text Processing and
Cognitive Technologie, Moscow MISA, pp. 229-234.

Miriam Meyerhoff commented on the difficulty of defining complexity,
especially when it comes to comparing probabilistic and/or categorical
marking of a feature at the syntax-discourse interface. She suggested a
chapter of hers due to appear in the Handbook of Pidgin and Creole
Linguistics and two of Jeff Siegels articles: (2004), Morphological
Elaboration, Journal of Pidgin and Creole languages 19 (2):
333-362, AND (2004), Morphological simplicity in Pidgins and Creoles, 
Journal of Pidgin and Creole languages 19 (1): 139-162).

David A. Havas suggested two articles on what Zipf's law means for
language and communication.

McCowan, B., Doyle, L., and Hanser, S. F., 2002. Using information
theory to assess the diversity, complexity, and development of
communicative repertoires. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 116, 2.

Ferrier i Cancho, R., & Sole, R. V., 2003. Least effort and the origins
of scaling in human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences, 100, 3.

Patrick Juola mentioned his article on measuring linguistic complexity
with a method based on the notion of Kolmogorov complexity (Juola, P.
1998. Measuring Linguistic Complexity: The Morphological Tier, Journal
of Quantitative Linguistics 5(3):206-13). He managed to show that
languages vary in their morphological complexity, and that their
syntactic complexity revealed almost exactly the opposite tendency.
Very relevant article.

Thanks again to all who responded; I have benefited a lot from this. I
would be happy to receive any further comments or suggestions
concerning grammatical complexity.

Kaius Sinnemäki, M.A., Researcher
General Linguistics, University of Helsinki
P.O Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20A)
00014 University of Helsinki, FINLAND
Email: ksinnema at ling.helsinki.fi 

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

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