"Explain Me This"
Program in Linguistics
Language users aim to convey their intended messages by selecting a combination of appropriate forms while conforming to the conventions of their community. To do this, learners need to learn the way that forms and functions are conventionally related: we need to learn a rich network of words and multi-word constructions that are conditioned by a wide array of rich conceptual, contextual, and social factors. Because we commonly encounter contexts that we have not witnessed before, we need to creatively extend familiar constructions for use in new contexts. I will argue that regularizations, conservative learning, overextensions, L2 errors and creativity all stem from the same process: failing to access the best (combination of) constructions and therefore using a “good-enough” option.