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Language Down the Garden Path – The Cognitive and Biological Basis for Linguistic Structures - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Language Down the Garden Path: The Cognitive and Biological Basis for Linguistic Structures

Montserrat Sanz, Itziar Laka, and Michael K. Tanenhaus


The distinction between competence (the knowledge of language that a speaker holds) and performance (the mechanisms involved in processing language) was a cornerstone of research in the 1960s. In 1970, however, in a now-classic paper, “The cognitive basis for linguistic structures,” Thomas G. Bever questioned the assumed existence of a grammatical system independent of the mental processes to parse it: grammar has the shape it has because of learning and processing constraints. Some perfectly imaginable structures never occur in language because children would not be able to acquire or process ... More

Keywords: sentence processing, grammar and parsing, parser architecture, language production, language acquisition, prediction in parsing, syntax and semantics mapping, narrow syntax, abstractness

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199677139
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199677139.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Montserrat Sanz, editor
Department of Spanish, Kobe City University of Foreign Studies

Itziar Laka, editor
Department of Linguistics and Basque Studies, University of the Basque Country

Michael K. Tanenhaus, editor
Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Linguistics, University of Rocheste

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