Item-specific knowledge and generalizations
Language contains both large generalizations and idiosyncratic facts, and therefore we unavoidably find those who favour lumping and those who favour splitting. The constructionist approach to grammar offers a way out of the lumper/splitter dilemma: the approach allows both broad generalizations and more limited patterns to be analysed and accounted for fully. In particular, constructionist approaches are generally usage based: facts about the actual use of linguistic expressions, such as frequencies and individual patterns that are fully compositional are recorded alongside more traditional linguistic generalizations. This chapter consolidates evidence that such a usage based model is required to account for the synchronic state of grammar. Relevant findings in the non-linguistic category literature are also reviewed.
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