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The Social Origins of Language

By Daniel Dor

Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution


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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

This is the first study that empirically investigates preposition placement across all clause types. The study compares first-language (British English) and second-language (Kenyan English) data and will therefore appeal to readers interested in world Englishes. Over 100 authentic corpus examples are discussed in the text, which will appeal to those who want to see 'real data'


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Free access to several Brill linguistics journals, such as Journal of Jewish Languages, Language Dynamics and Change, and Brill’s Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics.


Academic Paper


Title: Construction learning as a function of frequency, frequency distribution, and function
Paper URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00896.x
Author: Nick C. Ellis
Institution: University of Michigan
Author: Fernando Gonçalves Ferreira-Junior
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://lattes.cnpq.br/4773337313391912
Institution: Instituto Federal de Minas Gerais
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: This article considers effects of construction frequency, form, function, and prototypicality on second language acquisition (SLA). It investigates these relationships by focusing on naturalistic SLA in the European Science Foundation corpus (Perdue, 1993) of the English verb-argument constructions (VACs): verb locative (VL), verb object locative (VOL), and ditransitive (VOO). Goldberg (2006) argued that Zipfian type/token frequency distributions (Zipf, 1935) in natural language constructions might optimize learning by providing one very high-frequency exemplar that is also prototypical in meaning. This article tests and confirms this proposal for naturalistic English as a second language. We show that VAC type/token distribution in the input is Zipfian and that learners first use the most frequent, prototypical, and generic exemplar (e.g., put in the VOL VAC, give in the VOO ditransitive, etc.). Learning is driven by the frequency and frequency distribution of exemplars within constructions and by the match of their meaning to the construction prototype. © 2009 by The Modern Language Journal.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Modern Language Journal. Vol 93 Issue 3.
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2009.00896.x


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