Showing posts from May, 2016

Diversity is normal - Uriel Weinreich

In a language serving a complex (i.e., real) community,  it is absence of structured heterogeneity that would be dysfunctional
Uriel Weinreich wrote this in the much influential paper "Empirical foundations for a theory of language change" from 1968, and it is as true today as it was then. The paper was written by him, William Labov and Marvin Herzog. It was published and finalised after Weinreich's death, he died in 1967 at the age of 40. In the last weeks of his life, he devoted his time to discussing and writing this very paper. In the preface of the paper, his two co-authors write about him and the work behind this paper, and how honoured they are to have written this with him. They write that by section 2.4, the personal editing of the paper by Uriel Weinreich ends. While the finalisation of the paper was their work and the arguments represent their joint discussions, they underline that the conception and much of the writing was his.
The paper is well-cited for good r…