The cognitive evolution of Englishes

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Schneider’s Dynamic Model (2007) predicts that it is the lexicon-syntax interface that exhibits first traces of the emergence of characteristic structural innovations during the phase of Nativization. In this paper, I will show how a Construction Grammar approach provides a cognitive explanation for this phenomenon. I will then illustrate the advantages of a Construction Grammar analysis by focussing on Comparative Correlative (CC) constructions (e.g. The higher the price is, the more interesting the product is.; cf. Fillmore et al. 1988; Sag 2010). As the statistical analysis of data from various corpora from the International Corpus of English project show, all varieties exhibit similar processing effects, but differ greatly with respect to their reliance on partly substantive, partly schematic meso-constructions.


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