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Book: The Cognitive Linguistics Reader

Chapter: 28. Linguistic Selection: An Utterance-based Evolutionary Theory of Language

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.31574


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.

Chapter Contributors

  • William Croft ( - wcroft) 'University of New Mexico'