Motivation in Grammar and the Lexicon (Human Cognitive Processing)

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Graded centrality can be seen as a matter of the goodness of fit between the perceived features of some individual, and one or more ASPECTS of the frame that characterizes an ideal individual in a category. We can distinguish three ASPECTS : i Previous discourse, that is, what has been said immediately prior to a given utterance, obviously constitutes a powerful source of constraints.

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To give an obvious example, we would tend to interpret bank differently in 20 and 21 , simply because of the immediate linguistic context: 20 We moored the boat to the bank. These can strongly influence construal. For instance, in the case of bank above, our interpretation of 21 will be different if we know that the speaker is an eccentric recluse, and keeps his money in a box in the bank of a river.

A weak constraint will yield no more than a favorite, or most likely construal, which can be easily overridden by contextual constraints, a strong constraint will require heavy countervailing pressure to be overcome. Different ASPECTS of construal may be independently subject to conventional constraints: the result of a constraint will rarely be a fully construed meaning, and is much more likely to be a pre-meaning involving, say, only a boundary placement and leaving scope for further enrichment by construal.

Moreover, degree of semantic similarity predicts ASPECTS of morphological structure, in particular the likelihood of suppletion and other morphophonological irregularities. The degree of relevance of semantic relations allows one to impose a roughly hierarchical structure on a taxonomic network see the diagram in [13] above.

The notion of relevance relative semantic similarity allows us to construct hypotheses about the organization of syntactic knowledge as well. Croft, William. Explaining language change.

Motivation in Grammar and the Lexicon (Human Cognitive Processing)

An evolutionary perspective. London: Longman. A widely held view treats language change as occurring in the process of 'replicating' a grammar in child language acquisition.


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There are however serious empirical problems with this view. In the Theory of Utterance Selection, Convention is placed at center stage.