Linguistic Structure and Change: An Explanation from Language Processing

Paperback | February 15, 2001

byThomas Berg

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Thomas Berg challenges context-free theories of linguistics; he is concerned with how the term 'explanation' is typically used in the discipline. He argues that real explanations cannot emerge from a view which asserts the autonomy of language, but only from an approach which seeks toestablish a connection between language and the contexts in which it is embedded. The author examines the psychological context in detail. He uses an interactive activation model of language processing to derive predictions about synchronic linguistic patterns, the course of linguistic change, and the structure of poetic rhymes. The majority of these predictions are borne out,and the author concludes that the structure of language is shaped by the properties of the mechanism which puts it to use, and that psycholinguistics thus qualifies as one likely approach from which to derive an explanation of linguistic structure.

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Thomas Berg challenges context-free theories of linguistics; he is concerned with how the term 'explanation' is typically used in the discipline. He argues that real explanations cannot emerge from a view which asserts the autonomy of language, but only from an approach which seeks toestablish a connection between language and the cont...

Thomas Berg is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hamburg.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:350 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:February 15, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198299850

ISBN - 13:9780198299851

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Table of Contents

1. On the 'Art' of Explanation2. Explanation from a Macrolinguistic Perspective3. Method4. Language Structure5. Language Change6. Poetic Language7. Discussion8. A Psycholinguistic Model of Language Structure and Change9. Implications for Psycholinguistic Theory10. The Overall Perspective: Reductionist or Non-Reductionist?

Editorial Reviews

`The book can be praised for the breadth of linguistic and psycholinguistic patterns that are discussed, and for the way the results are integrated into a complete model of linguistic patterning . . . a much needed contribution to a relatively understudied area of linguistic research that isgradually entering the theoretical realm. This work has broad implications for many of the foundational issues of linguistic theory.'Stefan Frisch, University of Michigan, Journal of Linguistics 35, 1999