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Overview

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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CONSTRUCTING A LANGUAGE

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Tomasello offers an extended and detailed exposition of his 'usage-based' theory of language acquisition, which he contrasts to nativist or 'universal grammar' theories such as those of Noam Chomsky and of Steven Pinker...Throughout this masterfully written but stylistically and intellectually dense book, Tomasello reports extensively on current research and looks critically at the assumptions and assertions of his contemporaries.
— L. Bebout
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674044395
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 408
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Tomasello is Co-Director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. He is the author of First Verbs and the coauthor of Primate Cognition.

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Table of Contents








1 Usage-Based Linguistics


2 Origins of Language

2.1. Phylogenetic Origins 9
2.2. Ontogenetic Origins 19
2.3. Children's First Utterances 31
2.4. Summary 40

3 Words

3.1. Early Words and their Uses 44
3.2. Processes of Word Learning 58
3.3. Theories of Word Learning 8s
3.4. Summary 91

4 Early Syntactic Constructions

4.1. The Nature of Constructions 98
4.2. Early Constructional Islands 113
4.3. Marking Syntactic Roles 126
4.4. Summary 140

5 Abstract Syntactic Constructions

5.1. Abstract Constructions 146
5.2. Constructing Constructions 161
5.3. Constraining Constructions 175





5.4. Theories of Syntactic Development 181
5.5. Summary 193

6 Nominal and Clausal Constructions

6.1. Reference and Nominals 199
6.2. Predication and Clauses 213
6.3. Learning Morphology 232
6.4. Summary 241

7 Complex Constructions and Discourse

7.1. Complex Constructions 244
7.2. Conversation and Narrative 266
7.3. Summary 279

8 Biological, Cultural, and Ontogenetic Processes

8.1. Dual Inheritance 283
8.2. Psycholinguistic Processes of Acquisition 295
8.3. Psycholinguistic Processes of Production 305
8.4. The Development of Linguistic Representations 314
8.5. Summary 320

9 Toward a Psychology of Language Acquisition


References 331
Acknowledgments 373
Index 375






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