Chapter

Lexical Storage versus Online Construction

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/9780198270126.003.0006
 Lexical Storage versus Online Construction

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Traditional generative grammar makes two related assumptions: first, that lexical items — the stored elements that are combined into larger expressions — enter the combinatorial system by virtue of being inserted into syntactic structures; and second, that lexical items are always words. In the parallel model of Chapter 5, lexical items emerge instead as parts of the interfaces among generative components. Moreover, by taking seriously the question of what is stored in memory, we will arrive at the view that lexical (i.e., stored) items are of heterogeneous sizes, from affixes to idioms and more abstract structures. This reconceptualization of the lexicon leads to striking consequences for linguistic theory, in particular it breaks down some of the traditional distinctions between lexical items and rules of grammar. It also leads to a reconsideration of the formal character of language learning.

Keywords: lexical items; words; redundancy rules; idioms; construction; inheritance hierarchies; Universal Grammar

Chapter.  18756 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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