Structural future, predictions, posteriorty and emergent grammar: A contribution to the discussion on panchrony

  • Martin Konvička Free University of Berlin
Keywords: panchrony; diachrony; synchrony; emergent grammar; predictions; structural posteriority


In this article, I investigate two theoretical concepts pertaining to the nature of grammatical structures. Firstly, I discuss the notion of panchrony as a non-reductionist alternative to the structuralist dichotomy of diachrony versus synchrony. Secondly, I shortly introduce the emergentist approach to language that rejects the idea of language as a static, stable system. Afterwards, I am going to show how a panchronic view of language benefits the emergentist approach. Namely, I am going to stress the importance of the structural posteriority which is often neglected in traditional grammar models and only implied in emergentist ones. The emergent nature of language, as I am going to argue, can only be described if the speakers’ structural predictions are taken into account as well. Apart from combining the structural anteriority, i.e. diachrony, and structural contemporaneity, i.e. synchrony, structural posteriority has to be taken into account as well. In that case, every speaker in every utterance builds upon their earlier linguistic experience and thereby—to some degree—forms their future utterances


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