Functionalist approaches to grammar

by Elizabeth A. Bates, Brian MacWhinney
Language acquistion - the state of the art ()


Semantic categories form the basis of grammatical categories; in all known languages, causal agent is linked to subject position in the sentence. To get around problems with the fact that not all nouns refer to concrete objects and not all verbs refer to actions or events, the authors propose in addition that the learner can generalize to non-prototypical nouns or verbs based on overlapping semantic features that they share with prototypical ones.

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