Abstract and Keywords
This article reviews some of the best-known and most interesting work on language acquisition from within the framework of functional-cognitive linguistics, particularly those on meaning and conceptualization as well as usage and grammar (grammatical constructions). Although the term is often used more narrowly, the article calls this general theoretical approach “usage-based” to emphasize the assumption common to all functional and cognitive approaches that linguistic structure emerges from use, both historically and ontogenetically. This is as opposed to the dominant view in the field of language acquisition today in which “core” grammatical competence is innately given, and all that develops is peripheral skills involving the lexicon, pragmatics, information processing, and the like. The article discusses meaning and conceptualization in child language, focusing on image schemas and word meanings as well as social cognition, perspective-taking, and culture. It also considers usage and grammar in child language, including usage-based syntax.
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