Comments on ‘Linguistic structure: A plausible theory’

Richard Hudson


This comment on Sydney Lamb’s article “Language structure: A plausible theory” explores the similarities and differences between Lamb’s theory and my own theory called Word Grammar, which was inspired by Lamb’s work in the 1960s. The two theories share Lamb’s view that language is a symbolic network, just like the rest of our knowledge. The note explains this claim, then picks out a number of differences between the theories, all of which centre on the distinction between types and tokens. In Word Grammar, tokens are represented as temporary nodes added to the permanent network, and allow the theory to use dependency structure rather than phrase structure, to include mental referents, to recognise the messiness of spreading activation and to include a monotonic theory of default inheritance.


dependency, Word Grammar, spreading activation, default inheritance, tokens, network

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