Chapter published in:The Determinants of Diachronic Stability
Edited by Anne Breitbarth, Miriam Bouzouita, Lieven Danckaert and Melissa Farasyn
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 254] 2019
► pp. 263–290
Chapter 11Stable variation in multidimensional competition
The Fundamental Theorem of Language Change (Yang 2000) implies the impossibility of stable variation in the Variational Learning framework, but only in the special case where two, and not more, grammatical variants compete. Introducing the notion of an advantage matrix, I generalize Variational Learn-ing to situations where the learner receives input generated by more than two grammars, and show that diachronically stable variation is an intrinsic feature of several types of such multiple-grammar systems. This invites experimentalists to take the possibility of stable variation seriously and identifies one possible place where to look for it: situations of complex language contact.
- 1.Variation, learning and diachronic stability
- 2.Two grammars
- 3.Advantage matrices and the cyclical balance criterion
- 4.Dynamics: General results
- 5.Babelian systems
- 6.Symmetric systems
- 7.Quasi-Babelian systems
- 8.Naive learning
- 9.Conclusions and conjectures
Published online: 20 March 2019
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