Language and its structures
Language and its structures
Language and its structures

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About the Book

This book examines linguistic structures from the perspective of Cognitive Grammar. This first chapter provides a general perspective: language structures are entrenched patterns of behavior (i.e. habits) that allow humans to communicate. Those patterns overlap massively and sanction (i.e. legitimize) the more specific structures that actually get spoken (or written or otherwise used for communication). This only works because patterns so closely similar as to be effectively the same have been established by usage in the minds of those we communicate with. Very little in a language had to be that way (and so language is not predictable), but very often it makes sense for it to be that way (it is reasonable, motivated, non-arbitrary). The chapter includes an introduction and the table of contents for the whole book as it currently exists.

This book is a translation into English of Las estructuras del lenguaje: Capítulos 1-4 which was originally written in Español.

About the Author

David Tuggy
David Tuggy

David Tuggy grew up speaking Spanish and English. He has worked with Nahuatl since 1970, and in Cognitive Grammar since 1979 or so. More information and a number of publications may be found at . You may also wish to view My Brain has a Mind of its Own, which is also published here at

Table of Contents


Front matter: Preface, Table of Contents, Abbreviations and conventions

Part I: General considerations (comprises Chapters 1-6)

Chapter 1: The nature of language

1.1  Humans communicate by means of language

  1.2 The nature of the symbolic linkage

  1.3 (The grammar of) a language

    1.3.1 Units

    1.3.2 Linguistic units

    1.3.3 Conventional linguistic units

    1.3.4 Gradual parameters

    1.3.5 An inventory of conventional linguistic units

    1.3.6 A structured inventory

  1.4 The panorama of symbolic structures

    1.4.1 Bipolar vs. unipolar complexity

    1.4.2 Predominance of lexical structures vs. grammatical patterns

    1.4.3 Rigidity vs. flexibility

    1.4.4 (Again) Gradual parameters

  1.5 A preview: the sanction of complex structures

  1.6 Drawings in representation of meanings

  1.7 Summary

Forthcoming chapters (1-8 are largely written)

2. Basic mechanisms and structures

3. Schematicity and categorization

4. Basic semantic structures

5. Basic phonological structures

6. Lexical structures: Roots

Part II: Bases of syntax

7. Valence

8. Semi-lexical and schematic constructions

Part III: Panorama of constructions

9. Morphology

10-14 TBA


I. Aspects of the structure of Nahuatl

II. Glossaries of technical terms, signs and conventions, abbreviations, etc.


About the Publisher

This book is published on Leanpub by Pike Center

Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship is an initiative of SIL International that builds capacity for language development through scholarship. SIL works alongside ethnolinguistic communities as they discover how language development addresses the challenging areas of their daily lives—social, cultural, political, economic and spiritual.

One of Pike Center’s strategies for building capacity is to grow the needed bodies of knowledge through its Agile Publishing program. We are using this lean publishing platform to give our affiliated scholars a platform for developing and refining new contributions to growing bodies of knowledge that support the language development movement. Many of our titles are still in a preliminary stage of development. Others are finished but have such a narrow audience that we have not elected to turn them into print books. Still others have reached the maturity of becoming a print book; in such cases, this is indicated by a link on the landing page for the book.

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