Thomas Berg challenges context-free theories of linguistics; he is concerned with the way the term 'explanation' is typically used in the discipline. He argues that real explanations cannot emerge from a view which asserts the autonomy of language, but only from an approach which seeks to establish a connection between language and the contexts in which it is embedded. The author examines the psychological context in detail. He uses an interactiveactivation model of language processing to derive predictions about synchronic linguistic patterns, the course of linguistic change, and the structure of poetic rhymes. The majority of these predictions are borne out, leading the author to conclude that the structure of language is shaped by the properties of the mechanism which puts it to use, and that psycholinguistics thus qualifies as one likely approach from which to derive an explanation of linguistic structure.
Publisher: Oxford University Press