In the study of markedness, there are two possible approaches to explaining markedness. On the one hand, one could simply say that markedness is a formal property of grammars, at best to be explained as part of the panhuman species-specific genetic inheritance of language users as members of the species homo sapiens. On the other hand, one could try to account for markedness in terms of other, independently verifiable properties of people, the world, or people’s conception of the world. In this paper, I shall be arguing that, at least in a large number of instances, this second approach provides a viable explanation for observed markedness facts, including crucially a number of instances where there is no formal reason to assume that the markedness facts would fall out the way they do: either the opposite distribution of markedness would be equally simple formally, or some other distribution of markedness would be considerably more simple formally.
KeywordsNoun Phrase Embed Clause Matrix Clause Formal Principle Transitive Agent
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