You know, historically language change, for example, paradigmatic regularization, is based on efficiency. The less efficient the system--the less regular, the more likely that change will occur. A modern example of that, present perfect and simple past; had gone > did go. In other words, systems change, not individual words, so when you say that the lexicon gets bigger the rules of the grammar become more efficient, I wonder how that would occur. What pushes the change?
Bianca: some time ago I wrote about the question of speed and density in communication. Communication is indeed becoming faster. Academic English is more nominal than verbal (verbose: more words than we need). An academic text is full of nouns because you can pack more information into nouns ie the information density is higher. No wonder verbal means oral ie conversational. I additionally wanted to draw attention to some words mostly of Romance origin which are very long. We need more time to pronounce/write them. Business ESP including academic English is heavily dependent on such words. How can we communicate faster with words of Romance and Greek origin then?
Casiopea: As I said it is just a predicition but maybe I am wrong. Still you can teach and teach the difference between present perfect simple and past simple at least half of your students won't understand. Most students hate grammar rules. This means grammar is more difficult and might need simplification to meet the rquirements of our modern age. True systems change but why should grammar become more complex to deal with all the new words whether they are borrowings or coinage. English lexicon increased drammatically. Maybe we need a new grammar which is easier to learn and undersdtand but still be efficient. I think the KISS principle can be applied to the grammar of the future.
OK, and I agree that the more efficient a system the better off it is, but couldn't an ever increasing lexicon be efficient also? Rules are alogrithmic, words are factored in. It's like a slot machine--in a base sort of way--the kind you play in Las Vegas. Three slots, various fruit. Add more fruit, the slots don't change, but your chances of winning aren't as great. In terms of language, an increase in vocabulary means a greater chance at exacting one's intended meaning. That's a plus.Originally Posted by Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim
So, how is it that the lexicon and the grammar go in different directions, when one is constant, the other variant, and both subject to the efficiency principle (i.e., the less efficient a system; e.g., the lexicon, the more likely change within that particular system will occur, not within a completely different system; e.g., the syntax, unless the two are inherently connected;e.g., who v. whom)?
In short, words come and go, and syntax really has nothing to do with their appearance or disappearance. The rules are constant, the lexicon variable. That's what I know, but I would like to know more about what you know or see. Which is why I was wondering what brought you to your conclusion that the lexicon and the grammar are in opposition. You must have at least some evidence. Ideas just don't fall out of trees.
Last edited by Casiopea; 29-Jul-2007 at 15:05.
Casiopea: What I said is based on my own observation as I described earlier. In addition:
1. Needs: Our vocabulary needs are increasing. There is now even a discipline called Terminology Terminology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. New disciplines/needs emerge which necessitate new vocabulary – Vocabulary growth
2. Freedom and choice: Grammar rules are applied equally whereas people differ in their idiolects or choice of words depending upon their education and needs. The richness of a person's vocabulary can be a reflection of intelligence.
3. Emotions: Words are more loaded with emotions. We can express emotions with grammar but emotions are usually expressed lexically.