Performance and competence in usage-based construction grammar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

While formalist approaches in the Chomskian tradition to language distinguish sharply between performance and competence in their modeling of language competence, performance and competence are considered to be in a mutually influential relation in usage-based models of language. Language competence, in the latter approach, is, much like in Dell Hymes’ notion of communicative competence, held to be experientially based in the sense that speakers establish their competence through inductive social-cognitive processes of schematization and conventionalization. Making a case for the usage-based definition of the language system, his paper explores the interplay between performance and competence in a construction grammar perspective in which grammatical constructions are considered meaningful symbolic units on par with lexemes, in relation to the [V until ADJ]-construction, based on a study of a section of the Corpus of Contemporary American English. The present study takes into account empirically observed internal and external patterns of usage in the description of this linguistic phenomenon, providing a usage-based constructional overview of the competence pertaining to this construction. The purpose of the present study is thus two-fold, aiming to provide a communicatively plausible account of this particular phenomenon and to show that, indeed, no satisfactory description of the construction which ignores performance-based data would be possible, as the construction itself is very much defined by external properties such as specific genre and register affiliations and a quite specific communicative function.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards a Multidisciplinary Perspective on Language Competence
EditorsRita Cancino, Lotte Dam
Place of PublicationAalborg
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date2014
ISBN (Print)978-87-7112-187-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - construction grammar, constructions, usage-based grammar, usage-based linguistics, usage-based language models, language competence, language performance, English language, grammar, language register, genre, register, resipes, corpus linguistics, cooking terminology, competence-performance, cognitive linguistics, covarying collexemes, collostructional analysis, principle of semantic coherence, principle of semantic compatibility, English grammar, discourse-pragmatics, Corpus of Contemporary American English, American English

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