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dc.contributor.advisorMaclaurin, James
dc.contributor.advisorDawes, Greg
dc.contributor.authorWeston-Taylor, Lucy
dc.date.available2013-10-03T20:29:58Z
dc.date.copyright2013
dc.identifier.citationWeston-Taylor, L. (2013). Are all languages equal? (Thesis, Master of Arts). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4320en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/4320
dc.description.abstractThere is a general orthodoxy in linguistics that all languages are equal. Only in the past 10-15 years have linguists started critiquing this claim. In this thesis I critically examine structural interpretations of the thesis that all languages are equal. I argue that the claim should be interpreted as a claim about the equi-complexity of language structure, language as abstracted away from usage. There are two structural interpretations of the claim for which there is tentative evidence, but more linguistic research needs to be done to test these properly. The weak equilibrium hypothesis and the double threshold hypothesis both claim that language varieties, when measured according to a commensurable metric, fluctuate around a norm. I also claim that languages with writing systems are more complex than languages without such systems. I conclude that if either of the structural interpretations are true, all languages are equal. However taking written language into account, then not all languages are equal.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectequality of languages
dc.subjectequi-complexity
dc.titleAre all languages equal?
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2013-10-03T19:31:58Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophy
thesis.degree.nameMaster of Arts
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelMasters
otago.openaccessOpen
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