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Cambridge University Press
Expected online publication date:
September 2024
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Book description

Established in the early 1980s, Word Grammar is the first theory of grammar that was cast in the terms of cognitive linguistics. This book surveys the groundbreaking contribution of WG to a number of disciplines both within and outside of linguistics. It illustrates the benefits of thinking beyond traditional phrase-structural notions of syntax, and beyond encapsulated theories of cognition, by exploring how key problems in theoretical linguistics and historical linguistics can be approached from alternative perspectives. It provides examples of how theoretical linguistic notions and constructs of WG can be applied to bilingual language use, as well as a variety of typologically different languages including English, Chinese, German and Swedish. It also explores the relationship between language and social cognition and dependency distance as a universal measure of syntactic complexity. It is essential reading for linguists seeking creative ideas on how to advance explanations of language, language variation and change.


‘This book, celebrating Dick Hudson’s 80th birthday a few years ago, presents eleven interesting papers in Hudson’s cognitively motivated Word Grammar framework. Several advantages of Hudson’s simple framework are made clear by these interesting papers, including its cognitive basis and its ease of representing many complex phenomena across languages.’

Edward Gibson - Professor of Cognitive Science, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

‘The authors of this book throw new light on a well-established theory of Word Grammar as proposed by Richard Hudson, comparing it both to more recent trends, and to the theory of dependency grammar. In this sense, this volume offers not only a wider perspective on the theory of Word Grammar with regard to the language phenomena belonging to different language layers, but presents an original contribution to the study of language.’

Eva Hajičová - Professor, Charles University, Prague


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