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


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.