How long was the nineteenth century?

David Lightfoot


This paper reviews the problems of the deterministic and predictive view of language change initiated by nineteenth century linguists and shows that such a view is still present in many analyses proposed by twentieth century linguists. As an alternative to such a view, the paper discusses an approach along the lines of Niyogi and Berwick (1997), which takes the explanation for long-term tendencies to be a function of the architecture of UG and the learning procedure and of the way in which populations of speakers behave.


Historical Linguistics, Langue Change, Language Acquisition, Dynamic Systems

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Revista Delta-Documentação e Estudos em Linguística Teórica e Aplicada ISSN 1678-460X