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You are here: Home / News & Events / Events / CLS Speaker Series_check_then_delete / 2016-2017 / CLS Speaker Series - Scott Schwenter (Ohio State University) Would you just die already? Priming and Obsolescence in Grammar
 

CLS Speaker Series - Scott Schwenter (Ohio State University) Would you just die already? Priming and Obsolescence in Grammar

When Oct 14, 2016
from 09:00 AM to 09:45 AM
Where 127 Moore
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Would You Just Die Already? Priming and Obsolescence in Grammar

 

For 30 years, priming—the tendency to re-use a given linguistic structure after its prior, typically recent, use in discourse—has been an important topic in psycholinguistics and language processing. In the last 10+ years it has also (under the name “persistence”) come to be a key element in corpus research. The implications of priming, however, have mainly been drawn outside the linguistic system and have been related to general cognitive principles associated with memory and processing. In this talk, I show that priming/persistence also has important implications for the linguistic system and especially for variation and change. First of all, when two or more grammatical variants are in competition, priming/persistence effects are always stronger on the obsolescing variants. Second, priming/persistence actually keeps obsolescing grammatical forms alive much longer than they would survive otherwise. Third, beyond the well-known syntagmatic effects of priming/persistence in discourse, there are also important paradigmatic results, and priming/persistence can actually lead to partial resuscitation of grammatical forms that are otherwise dying. Data from both Spanish and Portuguese will be used to illustrate these points