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Cognitive approaches to grammar

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Cognitive approaches to grammar are theories of grammar that relate grammar to mental processes and structures in human cognition.

One common, but totally incorrect, folk theory is that there are basically two language types: ending-based such as Latin (which linguists call synthetic languages), and sentence-position-based (which linguists call analytic language). It is believed that the heavily synthetic languages promote logic while the position based languages promote creativity. However, it has yet to be scientifically proven that speakers of synthetic languages are less creative than speakers of analytic language, and vice versa.

A more serious cognitive approach to grammar is that proposed by Noam Chomsky and his fellow generative grammarians in which it is believed that grammar is an autonomous mental faculty and that it is governed by mental processes operating on mental representations of different kinds of symbols that apply only within this faculty.

Another cognitive approach to grammar is that which is proposed by proponents of cognitive linguistics, which holds that grammar is not an autonomous mental faculty with processes of its own, but that it is intertwined with all other cognitive processes and structures. The basic claim here is that grammar is conceptualization. Some of the theories that fall within this paradigm are construction grammar, cognitive grammar, and word grammar.

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