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Constructions at WorkThe Nature of Generalization in Language$
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Adele Goldberg

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268511

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268511.001.0001

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Item-specific knowledge and generalizations

Item-specific knowledge and generalizations

(p.45) 3 Item-specific knowledge and generalizations
Constructions at Work

Adele Goldberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   exemplars, serial verb construction, conventionality, redundancy, usage-based, categorization

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