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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access November 11, 2019

Accounting for Variation in Language

  • Edith Moravcsik EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Linguistics


In this paper, variation is defined as a type having more than one subtype. Using twelve examples from linguistics, two kinds of accounts are identified: eliminating variants and motivating them. Eliminating variants means a subtype is promoted to a type. Motivating variation in turn involves acknowledging the existence of the variants and explaining their existence either by reference to their differing meanings or by identifying the different contexts they occur in. The general applicability of these two ways of dealing with variation is shown by examples from other fields of study and from everyday life.


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Received: 2018-05-15
Accepted: 2019-07-19
Published Online: 2019-11-11

© 2019 Edith Moravcsik, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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