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Creating LanguageIntegrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing$
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Morten H. Christiansen and Nick Chater

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034319

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034319.001.0001

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From Fragmentation to Integration

From Fragmentation to Integration

(p.227) 8 From Fragmentation to Integration
Creating Language

Morten H. Christiansen

Nick Chater

The MIT Press

This book presents an overarching framework for the language sciences that may be seen as ignoring long-held theoretical distinctions in mainstream (generative) linguistics: core linguistic phenomena versus peripheral aspects of language, competence versus performance, acquiring language versus learning a skill, language evolution versus language change. The final chapter argues that breaking down these distinctions is a necessary part of building a unified account of the phenomenon of human language. Moreover, this approach creates a direct relationship between the language sciences and linguistic theory—viewing linguistic structure as processing history—as well as integrating often disconnected scientific inquiries into language processing, language acquisition, and language evolution. It is concluded that an integrated approach to these three intertwined timescales of language creation may, perhaps counter-intuitively, simplify rather than complicate our understanding of the nature of language.

Keywords:   Core/periphery, Competence/performance, Evolution/change, Processing history, Intertwined timescales, Language processing, Language acquisition, Language evolution

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