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Language, Usage and Cognition

$56.99 (P)

  • Date Published: May 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521616836

$ 56.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Language demonstrates structure while also showing considerable variation at all levels: languages differ from one another while still being shaped by the same principles; utterances within a language differ from one another while exhibiting the same structural patterns; languages change over time, but in fairly regular ways. This book focuses on the dynamic processes that create languages and give them their structure and variance. It outlines a theory of language that addresses the nature of grammar, taking into account its variance and gradience, and seeks explanation in terms of the recurrent processes that operate in language use. The evidence is based on the study of large corpora of spoken and written language, what we know about how languages change, as well as the results of experiments with language users. The result is an integrated theory of language use and language change which has implications for cognitive processing and language evolution.

    • Written by an innovative linguist whose previous work has been influential to linguistic theory building
    • Broad in scope, will appeal to a wide number of researchers and graduate students interested in language change, language acquisition, evolution and cognitive psychology
    • Data is taken from a study of large corpora of spoken and written language and experiments with language users
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'It used to be a cliché that humans understand new utterances by constructing analogies with previous utterances. A fully-fledged articulation of this idea was however lacking until now. Bybee does a marvellous job in bringing together linguistics and cognitive science, showing how the integration of usage and analogy results in an improved account for language cognition.' Rens Bod, Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam

    '… the perfect overview for anyone wanting to learn about the usage-based approach to language, and a synthesis that will be valuable to readers familiar with the framework.' Kie Ross Zuraw, Department of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles

    'Comprehensive and compelling … it should not be missed by anyone interested in language and the processes that underlie both language change and language processing.' Adele E. Goldberg, Professor of Linguistics, Princeton University

    'Bybee's insightful and refreshing investigation into the dynamic processes that create grammar is an inspiration for research in usage-based linguistics.' Sandra A. Thompson, University of California, Santa Barbara

    '… this is a very insightful and informative book which provides a good overview of Bybee's impressive investigations and which always integrates diachronic perspective.' Damaris Nübling, Language and Dialogue

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521616836
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 33 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A usage-based perspective on language
    2. Rich memory for language: exemplar representation
    3. Chunking and degrees of autonomy
    4. Analogy and similarity
    5. Categorization and the distribution of constructions in corpora
    6. Where do constructions come from? Synchrony and diachrony in a usage-based theory
    7. Grammatical change: reanalysis or the gradual creation of new constructions?
    8. Gradient constituency and gradual reanalysis
    9. Conventionalization and the local vs. the general: modern English can
    10. Exemplars and grammatical meaning: the specific and the general
    11. Language as a complex adaptive system: the interaction of cognition, culture and use.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Human learning and cognitive processes
    • Psycholinguistics
  • Author

    Joan Bybee, University of New Mexico
    Joan Bybee is Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. Her previous publications include Phonology and Language Use (Cambridge, 2001) and Frequency of Use and the Organization of Language (2007).

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