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Linguistics Vanguard

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Hidden complexity – The neglected side of complexity and its implications

Walter Bisang
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of English and Linguistics (FB 05), University of Mainz, Jakob-Welder-Weg 18, D-55099 Mainz, Germany
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Published Online: 2015-01-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2014-1014


Linguistic complexity is the result of the two motivations of explicitness and economy. Most approaches focus on the explicitness-side of complexity (overt complexity) but there is also an economy-oriented side to it (hidden complexity). The aim of the paper is to introduce hidden complexity and to show how it opens new perspectives on central issues of linguistics. It will discuss the following questions: (i) the implementability of hidden complexity for psycholinguistic experiments, (ii) the evolution of linguistic complexity, (iii) its realisation in creole languages and (iv) its consequences for theories on the architecture of grammar. With this aim, the paper is a programmatic paper with the intention of pointing out ideas for future research.

Keywords: architecture of grammar; complexity; creoles; economy; explicitness; maturation; numeral classifiers; pragmatics; radical pro-drop


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-01-13

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Note: The research presented in this paper was supported by the Gutenberg Research College of the University of Mainz.

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2014-1014. Export Citation

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