The Reflexivity of Change: The Case of Language Norms
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CitationSuber, Peter. 1989. Reflexivity of Change: The Case of Language Norms. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 3, no. 2: 100-129.
AbstractIn the evolution of speech, the censure of mispronunciations can cause them to abate, and thereby reinforce the prevailing norm. Conversely, widespread and longlasting mispronunciation can amend the norm. In the former case we see the reflexive self-stabilization of language norms; in the latter, the reflexive subversion of the norms. This essay proposes a general model of the reflexive stability and change of norms, and applies it to language norms; elsewhere the author applies the same analysis to legal norms. The need traditionally filled by a priori norms is filled by slow-changing, "constitutive a posteriori" norms.
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