Pragmatic fossiles - OT and the emergence of Differential Case Marking

Gerhard Jaeger

" Differential Case Marking" (DCM) is the cross-linguistically common
phenomenon that the presence or absence of case marking is correlated
with semantic properties of the NP in question. It is tempting to pursue
a pragmatic approach to this phenomenon, because DCM can elegantly be
described as an optimal compromise between hearer economy (Avoid
ambiguity!) and speaker economy (Avoid morphological structure!).
However, unlike other pragmatic rules, DCM is usually hard-wired into the
morphosyntactic rules of a language. In the talk I will present a
learning theory for Optimality Theory that accounts both for the
emergence of DCM due to pragmatic pressure and -- via iterated learning
-- for its subsequent grammaticalization .