A Minimal Quantity with Maximal Effects
This study accounts for synchronic variations from a diachronic perspective. Minimizers are minimal in quantity but maximal in effects. This study begins with minimizers and then connects major linguistic issues in both diachrony and synchrony. The constructionist approach incorporates different mechanisms of changes and captures the dynamic alignments of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics in different periods of Chinese. The diachronic analysis of the synchronic distribution links a series of changes in word order and the influences of the changes on the information structure in Mandarin Chinese. The development of minimizers provides crucial evidence of construction-based changes and a network of constructional changes, which specify mechanisms and motivations behind changes. The typological study accounts for why the concept of one is polysemous crosslinguistically by showing how the concept of quantity can be flexibly shaped by contextual scales. The cross-period corpus study provides a quantitative treatment of how language change originates in language use.