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Usage-Based Approach to Language Acquisition

The usage-based approach to language acquisition, embedded within the wider theoretical framework of Cognitive Linguistics, centers on the idea that all aspects of language are acquired from and shaped by usage. It thus offers a contrasting viewpoint to nativist, generativist accounts which assert that humans are born with innate linguistic knowledge. As an account of language acquisition and representation, it is relevant not only for how human language and communication are viewed but also for understanding what happens when language breaks down. This, in turn, has implications for clinical practice in assessing and treating language disorders. While much clinical linguistic research has been underpinned by generativist models, the usage-based approach is now emerging as an alternative theoretical perspective from which to characterize disordered language. It ...

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