Constructing a Language

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Harvard University Press, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 388 pages
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In this groundbreaking book, Tomasello presents a comprehensive usage-based theory of language acquisition. Drawing together a vast body of empirical research in cognitive science, linguistics, and developmental psychology, Tomasello demonstrates that we don't need a self-contained "language instinct" to explain how children learn language. Their linguistic ability is interwoven with other cognitive abilities.
 

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Contents

UsageBased Linguistics
1
Origins of Language
8
21 Phylogenetic Origins
9
22 Ontogenetic Origins
19
23 Childrens First Utterances
31
24 Summary
40
Words
43
31 Early Words and Their Uses
44
55 Summary
193
Nominal and Clausal Constructions
196
61 Reference and Nominals
199
62 Predication and Clauses
213
63 Learning Morphology
232
64 Summary
241
Complex Constructions and Discourse
243
71 Complex Constructions
244

32 Processes of Word Learning
58
33 Theories of Word Learning
82
34 Summary
91
Early Syntactic Constructions
94
41 The Nature of Constructions
98
42 Early Constructional Islands
113
43 Marking Syntactic Roles
126
44 Summary
140
Abstract Syntactic Constructions
144
51 Abstract Constructions
146
52 Constructing Constructions
161
53 Constraining Constructions
175
54 Theories of Syntactic Development
181
72 Conversation and Narrative
266
73 Summary
279
Biological Cultural and Ontogenetic Processes
282
81 Dual Inheritance
283
82 Pyscholinguistic Processes of Acquisition
295
83 Psycholinguistic Processes of Production
305
84 The Development of Linguistic Representations
314
85 Summary
320
Toward a Psychology of Language Acquisition
323
References
331
Acknowledgments
373
Index
375
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About the author (2005)

Michael Tomasello is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

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