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Spontaneous Spoken Language Syntax and Discourse by Jim Miller, Regina Weinert

Spontaneous Spoken Language Syntax and Discourse



Spontaneous Spoken Language Syntax and Discourse by Jim Miller, Regina Weinert

Jim Miller and Regina Weinert investigate syntactic structure and the organization of discourse in spontaneous spoken language. Using data from English, German, and Russian, they develop a systematic analysis of spoken English and highlight properties that hold across languages. The authors argue that the differences in syntax and the construction of discourse between spontaneous speech and written language bear on various areas of linguistic theory, apart from having obvious implications for syntactic analysis. In particular, they bear on typology, Chomskyan theories of first language acquisition, and the perennial problem of language in education. In current typological practice written and spontaneous spoken texts are often compared; the authors show convincingly that typological research should compare like with like. The consequences for Chomskyan, and indeed all, theories of first language acquisition flow from the central fact that children first learn spoken language before they are taught written language.


many nuggets of valuable information and analysis ... The authors display thorough knowledge and understanding of both formal and functional linguistics and have bravely taken on the mantle of bridge-builders. With their rich data base and close analyses, they show that the convergence of views which is detectable in contemporary linguistics can be profitably put into practice. * J.Lachlan Mackenzie, Linguistics, Vol.37, 2001 * Review from previous edition In this book [Miller and Weinert] not only argue strongly for the importance of the distinction between spontaneous speech and written language, but also demonstrate effectively its direct and central relevance to such areas of linguistic theory as historical change and language acquisition. * Australian Journal of Linguistics, vol.21 *

About the Author

Jim Miller is Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Fellow in Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh Regina Weinert is a Reader in Germanic Linguistics, the University of Sheffield

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Book Info

Publication date

30th April 2009


Jim Miller, Regina Weinert

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Oxford University Press


482 pages


Grammar, syntax & morphology
Language acquisition



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