Explain Me This: Creativity, Competition, and the Partial Productivity of Constructions

Author:   Adele E. Goldberg
Publisher:   Princeton University Press
ISBN:  

9780691174259


Pages:   216
Publication Date:   12 February 2019
Format:   Hardback
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
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Explain Me This: Creativity, Competition, and the Partial Productivity of Constructions


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Overview

Why our use of language is highly creative yet also constrained We use words and phrases creatively to express ourselves in ever-changing contexts, readily extending language constructions in new ways. Yet native speakers also implicitly know when a creative and easily interpretable formulation--such as Explain me this or She considered to go --doesn't sound quite right. In this incisive book, Adele Goldberg explores how these creative but constrained language skills emerge from a combination of general cognitive mechanisms and experience. Shedding critical light on an enduring linguistic paradox, Goldberg demonstrates how words and abstract constructions are generalized and constrained in the same ways. When learning language, we record partially abstracted tokens of language within the high-dimensional conceptual space that is used when we speak or listen. Our implicit knowledge of language includes dimensions related to form, function, and social context. At the same time, abstract memory traces of linguistic usage-events cluster together on a subset of dimensions, with overlapping aspects strengthened via repetition. In this way, dynamic categories that correspond to words and abstract constructions emerge from partially overlapping memory traces, and as a result, distinct words and constructions compete with one another each time we select them to express our intended messages. While much of the research on this puzzle has favored semantic or functional explanations over statistical ones, Goldberg's approach stresses that both the functional and statistical aspects of constructions emerge from the same learning mechanisms.

Full Product Details

Author:   Adele E. Goldberg
Publisher:   Princeton University Press
Imprint:   Princeton University Press
ISBN:  

9780691174259


ISBN 10:   0691174253
Pages:   216
Publication Date:   12 February 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Tertiary & Higher Education ,  Professional & Vocational
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Availability:   Not yet available   Availability explained
This item is yet to be released. You can pre-order this item and we will dispatch it to you upon its release.
Language:   English

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Reviews

In Explain Me This, Adele Goldberg, one of the world's most creative and inspiring linguists, offers a fascinating account of why we speak as we do and develops a model that sheds fresh light on the roles of generalizations and word-related knowledge stored in memory. This book is an absolute must for linguists and language psychologists all over the world. --Thomas Herbst, Friedrich-Alexander-Universit t Erlangen-N rnberg Explain Me This reveals Adele Goldberg as the most exciting figure to arrive on the linguistics scene since Noam Chomsky changed everything back in the 1960s. And it has to be said that her version of construction grammar is a good deal more elegant, robust, and psychologically realistic than transformational grammar ever was. --Chris Knight, author of Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics This is an engagingly written and wide-ranging approach to linguistic knowledge that combines linguistic analyses, studies of child language acquisition, and studies of adult language production and comprehension. Explain Me This is thought provoking, entertaining, and full of great observations and ideas. --Maryellen MacDonald, University of Wisconsin-Madison


This is an engagingly written and wide-ranging approach to linguistic knowledge that combines linguistic analyses, studies of child language acquisition, and studies of adult language production and comprehension. Explain Me This is thought provoking, entertaining, and full of great observations and ideas. --Maryellen MacDonald, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Author Information

Adele E. Goldberg is professor of psychology at Princeton University. She is the author of Constructions at Work: The Nature of Generalization in Language and Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure.

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