Linguistic structure: A plausible theory

Sydney Lamb


This paper is concerned with discovering the system that lies behind linguistic productions and is responsible for them. To be considered realistic, a theory of this system has to meet certain requirements of plausibility: (1) It must be able to be put into operation, for (i) speaking and otherwise producing linguistic texts and (ii) comprehending (to a greater or lesser extent) the linguistic productions of others; (2) it must be able to develop during childhood and to continue changing in later years; (3) it has to be compatible with what is known about brain structure, since that system resides in the brains of humans. Such a theory, while based on linguistic evidence, turns out to be not only compatible with what is known from neuroscience about the brain, it also contributes new understanding about how the brain operates in processing information.


meaning; semantics; cognitive neuroscience; relational network; conceptual categories; prototypes; learning; brain; cerebral cortex; cortical column

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