LINGUIST List 14.2604

Mon Sep 29 2003

Books: Cognitive Science: Culicover, Nowak

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  1. tom.perridge, Dynamical Grammar: Culicover, Nowak

Message 1: Dynamical Grammar: Culicover, Nowak

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 12:24:58 +0000
From: tom.perridge <>
Subject: Dynamical Grammar: Culicover, Nowak

Title: Dynamical Grammar
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Oxford University Press,		 
Author: Peter W. Culicover, Ohio State University 
Author: Andrzej Nowak, Florida Atlantic University 
Hardback: ISBN: 0198700261, Pages: 320, Price: �55.00
Paperback: ISBN: 0198700253, Pages: 320, Price: �22.50

'Dynamical Grammar' explores the consequences for language
acquisition, language evolution, and linguistic theory of taking the
underlying architecture of the language faculty to be that of a
dynamical system.

The authors investigate whether it is possible for a complex adaptive
system to identify the categories, structures, and rules of a language
given access only to instances of grammatical utterances of that
language. The linguistic tradition says that this is impossible, but
there is a growing body of literature in psychology and computer
science arguing that grammar can be uncovered using purely statistical
techniques applied to the distribution of forms in a string of
words. The book goes on to discuss whether a learner requires
information about structure that goes beyond the information that is
contained in the meaning. Does the learner have to have knowledge of
grammar per se prior to language acquisition, as has been
traditionally assumed?

The authors ask whether it is possible to adequately describe and
explain linguistic phenomena if we restrict ourselves to the
relatively impoverished apparatus that we require for language
acquisition. They explore the consequences of adopting a radical form
of minimalism to try to reconcile the linguistic facts with the book's
perspective of language acquisition. Culicover and Nowak investigate
to what extent it is possible to account for language variation in
dynamical terms, as a consequence of the behaviour of the complex
social network in which languages and the properties of languages are
acquired by learners through interactions with other speakers over

Lingfield(s): Cognitive Science
		Linguistic Theories
		Language Acquisition		
Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)

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