Chapter

Combinatoriality

Ray Jackendoff

in Foundations of Language

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780198270126
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191713255 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270126.003.0003
 Combinatoriality

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One of the most striking features of language is the fact that speakers can understand and construct an indefinitely large number of sentences that they have never experienced before. This leads to the conclusion that a speaker's knowledge is instantiated as a set of generative principles (or rules) for constructing and recognizing sentences; these principles constitute the speaker's mental grammar. After enumerating some of the general types of rules proposed in various frameworks of generative grammar, the chapter discusses some problems that combinatoriality poses for popular theories of semantic memory and neural nets.

Keywords: knowledge; formation rules; derivational rules; lexical rules; constraints; generative grammar; semantic memory; neural nets; cognitive neuroscience

Chapter.  12853 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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