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Partial Blocking and Associative Learning

Anton Benz
Linguistics and Philosophy
Vol. 29, No. 5 (Oct., 2006), pp. 587-615
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29737179
Page Count: 29
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Abstract

We are going to explain partial blocking as the result of diachronic processes based on what we will call associative learning. Especially, we argue that the task posed by partial blocking phenomena is to explain their emergence from unambiguous and fully expressive languages. This contrasts with approaches that presuppose underspecified semantic meanings or ineffability like Bidirectional Optimality Theory (Bi-OT) and some game theoretic explanations. We introduce a formal framework based on learning, speaker's preferences and pure semantics for describing diachronic strengthening of meaning. Moreover, we show how the diachronic development of systems of semantically co-extensive forms can be described in terms of a complete system of diachronic laws.

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