Frequency effects and structural change - the Afrikaans preterite
AbstractAccording to emergent grammar and exemplar theory in cognitive linguistics, the frequency of an item affects its behaviour in terms of structural change. In this article, I illustrate how high frequency items, such as preterital modal auxiliaries and copulas in Afrikaans, resist regularising with the rest of the Afrikaans verbal system. Items with a moderately high frequency can resist change for a time, but succumb to it eventually, such as mog (“might”) and wis (“knew”). While the course of change can also be affected by other factors, such as het (“have”) and had (“had”), and dink (“think”) and gedink/dag/dog (“thought”) show, the data in diachronic Afrikaans corpora from 1911 to 2010 confirm that high frequency items resist structural change to a large extent, while low frequency items do not. This links with the cognitive representation of language and language processing, and illustrates how the use of language shapes the structure of language.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).