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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Linguistics » Constructing a Language - A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition


Constructing a Language - A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition

 
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    Tomasello argues that the essence of language is its symbolic dimension, which rests on the uniquely human ability to comprehend intention. Grammar emerges as the speakers of a language create linguistic constructions out of recurring sequences of symbols; children pick up these patterns in the buzz of words they hear around them.

    All theories of language acquisition assume these fundamental skills of intention-reading and pattern-finding. Some formal linguistic theories posit a second set of acquisition processes to connect somehow with an innate universal grammar. But these extra processes, Tomasello argues, are completely unnecessary--important to save a theory but not to explain the phenomenon.

    For all its empirical weaknesses, Chomskian generative grammar has ruled the linguistic world for forty years. Constructing a Language offers a compellingly argued, psychologically sound new vision for the study of language acquisition.




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Tags: language, cognitive, Language, Tomasello, Their, Language, language, Constructing