What can we learn about the human mind by studying language? The predominant approaches in American linguistics use theoretical assumptions about the formal nature of grammar to answer this question. But these studies are restricted to unapplied models of language, not how language functions in actual speech situations--and as a result, their power to reveal the workings of the human mind is limited.
This book overcomes those limitations by examining data on naturally occurring language usage, not simplified theoretical examples. The cognitive and functional arguments made here start from psychologically realistic principles and arrive at perspectives of linguistics that unveil mechanisms of the mind--based on how language is actually used.
Moving within a cognitive and functional framework, this volume focuses on the motivations for linguistic patterning in human social and cognitive experience, and on the dynamic properties of language construal, use, and development. Among the main research avenues represented are first language acquisition, metaphor, language processing and discourse, and conceptual structure and grammar.
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