Construction and the Nature of Generalization in Language
There is a growing convergence on the idea that language consists essentially of form-function pairings-constructions. Constructions, including morphemes or words, idioms, partially lexically filled and fully abstract phrasal patterns, are understood to be learned on the basis of the input and general cognitive processes such as categorization. Experimental evidence will be presented that demonstrates that novel abstract constructions can be learned and learned quickly. Cross-linguistic generalizations will also be discussed-they are addressed by appeal to general cognitive processes together with the functions of the constructions involved.