Defining complexity: Historical reconstruction and Nyulnyulan subordination
I use data from subordination strategies in Nyulnyulan languages (Non-Pama-Nyungan, Northern Australia) in order to investigate various alternative means of defining and quantifying 'complexity'. While Edmonds (1999) defines 48 distinct types of complexity (concentrating on social and natural sciences), in this paper I concentrate on three facets of complexity: descriptive complexity, ontological complexity, and parsimony in reconstruction. While historical linguists tend to maximise parsimony, in Nyulnyulan languages the minimization of one aspect of complexity necessarily adds complication elsewhere, and it therefore serves as an appropriate case study of the interdependencies between ontology, syntactic modelling, and language change.
Citable link to this pagehttp://hdl.handle.net/1911/21848
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