Book: The Cognitive Linguistics Reader
Chapter: 28. Linguistic Selection: An Utterance-based Evolutionary Theory of Language
In this essay the author argues against an 'essentialist' view which defines language as a system of abstract rules; instead, in his evolutionary model of language, the utterance is the fundamental unit of analysis. By adopting such a radically usage-based approach, the author integrates change as an integral part for a theory of language and encourages the discussion of the representationalist view of meaning underlying much of cognitive semantics.