Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Open Peer Commentary
Clahsen: Rules of language

Diachronic evidence for a dual-mechanism approach to inflection


David Fertig a1
a1 Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14226 fertig@acsu.buffalo.edu http://wings.buffalo.edu/cas/mll/lunz/home.htm

Abstract

The received view in historical linguistics is that there is always an inverse relation between token frequency and likelihood of analogical change. I have found evidence, however, of a sharp difference in frequency effects between regularization and nonregularizing analogical change. I argue that this difference can easily be accounted for by dual-mechanism models of inflection but is very problematic for pure associative-memory models.