In grade school, no one would have ever guessed I'd grow up to become a linguist-- I was the kid who got Cs in French and couldn't produce a trill to save my life! I went to university majoring in civil engineering-- relieved that there was no language requirement for that major. But I ended up switching to geophysics, thinking that it would be less restrictive than engineering, and that it would allow me to spend more time in the mountains (which turned out to be wishful thinking)...Read more
The Cambridge Handbook of Communication Disorders examines the full range of developmental and acquired communication disorders and provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive guide to the epidemiology, aetiology and clinical features of these disorders.
Sentence Comprehension: The Integration of Habits and Rules
Using sentence comprehension as a case study for all of cognitive science, David Townsend and Thomas Bever offer an integration of two major approaches, the symbolic-computational and the associative-connectionist. The symbolic-computational approach emphasizes the formal manipulation of symbols that underlies creative aspects of language behavior. The associative-connectionist approach captures the intuition that most behaviors consist of accumulated habits. The authors argue that the sentence is the natural level at which associative and symbolic information merge during comprehension.
The authors develop and support an analysis-by-synthesis model that integrates associative and symbolic information in sentence comprehension. This integration resolves problems each approach faces when considered independently. The authors review classic and contemporary symbolic and associative theories of sentence comprehension, and show how recent developments in syntactic theory fit well with the integrated analysis-by-synthesis model. They offer analytic, experimental, and neurological evidence for their model and discuss its implications for broader issues in cognitive science, including the logical necessity of an integration of symbolic and connectionist approaches in the field.
David J. Townsend is Cognitive Science Coordinator, Department of Psychology, Montclair State University, New Jersey. Thomas G. Bever is Chair of the Linguistics Department at the University of Arizona.