The dynamicity of communication below, around and above the clause
  • ISSN 1874-8767
  • E-ISSN: 1874-8775
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Language is usually modelled through a predominantly synoptic perspective; even if the object of analysis is spoken language, we tend to look at extracts where the analysis of parts makes use of the whole. Holistic analyses can be very good for capturing realities of language in many respects, but in the case of modelling temporal aspects of processing they fall into the trap of unrealistic hindsight. The experience of speech is time-bound: a hearer will go on what he or she has heard at any given point, and will anticipate what may follow. The predictions will be either confirmed or rejected in rapid succession, as speech moves on. The time window for working memory is very brief, and processing focuses on continuously changing input. Models of this process must take into account this dynamism, and they need to take on board the fact that language must be continually processed even while utterances are still incomplete. Most models of language structure are based on completed units; this tends to lead to a hierarchical view of language, embodied in most grammars. The reality of temporally progressing speech is nevertheless fundamentally linear along the dimension of time.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): chunking; dynamic grammar; language in working memory; language processing; temporality
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