Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10497/22034
Title: 
Authors: 
Subjects: 
Usage-based linguistics
Working memory
Corpus linguistics
Cognitive grammar
Psycholinguistics
Issue Date: 
2017
Citation: 
Green, C. (2017). Usage-based linguistics and the magic number four. Cognitive Linguistics, 28(2), 209-237. https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2015-0112
Abstract: 
Miller’s (1956, The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review 63(2). 81–97) working memory (WM) capacity of around seven items, plus or minus two, was never found by usage-based linguists to be a recurrent pattern in language. Thus, it has not figured prominently in cognitive models of grammar. Upon reflection, this is somewhat unusual, since WM has been considered a fundamental cognitive domain for information processing in psychology, so one might have reasonably expected properties such as capacity constraints to be reflected in language use and structures derived from use. This paper proposes that Miller’s (1956) number has not been particularly productive in usage-based linguistics because it turns out to have been an overestimate. A revised WM capacity has now superseded it within cognitive science, a “magic number four plus or minus one” (Cowan 2001, The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences
24(1). 87–185). This paper suggests, drawing on evidence from spoken language corpora and multiple languages, that a range of linguistic structures and patterns align with this revised capacity estimate, unlike Miller’s (1956), ranging from phrasal verbs, idioms, n-grams, the lengths of intonation units and some
abstract grammatical properties of phrasal categories and clause structure.
Description: 
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Cognitive Linguistics. The published version is available online at https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2015-0112
URI: 
ISSN: 
0936-5907 (print)
1613-3641 (online)
DOI: 
File Permission: 
Open
File Availability: 
With file
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
CL-28-2-209.pdf724.18 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
View/Open
Show full item record

SCOPUSTM   
Citations

12
checked on Sep 24, 2022

WEB OF SCIENCETM
Citations

13
checked on Sep 23, 2022

Page view(s)

50
checked on Sep 28, 2022

Download(s) 50

105
checked on Sep 28, 2022

Google ScholarTM

Check

Altmetric


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.