Holger Diessel

Holger Diessel
Friedrich Schiller University Jena | FSU · Department of English and American Studies

PhD

About

75
Publications
63,961
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3,706
Citations
Citations since 2017
19 Research Items
2158 Citations
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Publications

Publications (75)
Preprint
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This paper examines the acquisition of demonstratives (e.g. that, there) from a cross-linguistic perspective. Although demonstratives are often said to play a crucial role in L1 acquisition, there is little systematic research on this topic. Using extensive corpus data of spontaneous child speech, the paper investigates the emergence and developmen...
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers a review of research on demonstratives from an interdisciplinary perspective. In particular, we consider the role of demonstratives in current research on language universals, language evolution, language acquisition, multimodal communication, signed language, language and perception, language in interaction, spatial imagery, and...
Article
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Usage-based linguists and psychologists have produced a large body of empirical results suggesting that linguistic structure is derived from language use. However, while researchers agree that these results characterize grammar as an emergent phenomenon, there is no consensus among usage-based scholars as to how the various results can be explained...
Preprint
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Across languages, demonstratives provide a frequent diachronic source for a wide range of grammatical markers including certain types of clause linkers such as English so, that, thus and therefore. Drawing on data from a sample of 100 languages, this chapter presents a cross-linguistic survey of (grammaticalised) demonstratives that are routinely u...
Preprint
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The present contribution surveys prominent patterns in the typology of relative and adverbial clauses, with particular reference to the notion of embedding. To this end, we unfold the notion of embedding into a three-dimensional space consisting of a functional, a distributional and a formal axis along which a clause may be argued to be embedded in...
Book
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Cognitive linguists and psychologists have often argued that language is best understood as an association network; however, while the network view of language has had a significant impact on the study of morphology and lexical semantics, it is only recently that researchers have taken an explicit network approach to the study of syntax. This innov...
Chapter
This paper provides an overview of the form, meaning, and use of deictic expressions from a cross-linguistic perspective. The first part of the paper is concerned with the psychological foundations for a linguistic theory of deixis. It is argued that the use of deictic expressions presupposes a theory-of-mind that enables the communicative partners...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the historical literature it is commonly assumed that subordinate clauses are derived from paratactic sentences. However, while this assumption is not implausible for certain types of postposed adverbial clauses, there is no obvious connection between preposed adverbial clauses and parataxis. This paper investigates the diachronic development of...
Book
All languages have demonstratives, but their form, meaning and use vary tremendously across the languages of the world. This book presents the first large-scale analysis of demonstratives from a cross-linguistic and diachronic perspective. It is based on a representative sample of 85 languages. The first part of the book analyzes demonstratives fro...
Book
This book presents the first comprehensive study of how children acquire complex sentences. Drawing on observational data from English-speaking children aged 2;0 to 5;0, Holger Diessel investigates the acquisition of infinitival and participial complement clauses, finite complement clauses, finite and nonfinite relative clauses, adverbial clauses,...
Chapter
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Article
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The present contribution examines object complement clauses from the perspective of constituent-order typology. In particular, it provides the first principled empirical investigation of the position of object clauses relative to the matrix verb. Based on a stratified sample of 100 languages, we establish that there is an overall cross-linguistic p...
Chapter
Full-text available
Until recently, theoretical linguists have paid little attention to the frequency of linguistic elements in grammar and grammatical development. It is a standard assumption of (most) grammatical theories that the study of grammar (or competence) must be separated from the study of language use (or performance). However, this view of language has be...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the development of relative clauses in the speech of four English-speaking children between 1;9 and 5;2 years of age. It is shown that the earliest relative clauses occur in presentational constructions that express a single proposition in two ®nite clauses. Starting from such simple sentences, children gradually learn the use o...
Research
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One of the most hotly debated concepts of current syntactic theory is the notion of construction, which has given rise to a new theoretical paradigm known as Construction Grammar. However, Construction Grammar is not a uniform theory, but subsumes a whole family of theoretical approaches in which constructions are the basic units of grammar. This p...
Article
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Frequency shapes syntactic structure* - Volume 42 Issue 2 - HOLGER DIESSEL
Chapter
Since the beginning of modern linguistics—that is, since Ferdinand de Saussure’s Cours de Linguistique Générale—it has been a standard assumption of linguistic research that the study of the linguistic system, or “langue,” needs to be distinguished from the study of language use, or “parole.” In structuralist and generative linguistics, language, n...
Article
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This paper considers Arbib's hypothesis that (oral) language has its roots in gesture in light of recent research on demonstratives, joint attention, and deictic pointing (Michael Arbib. 2012. How the brain got language: The Mirror System Hypothesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press). It is argued that demonstratives provide an important link betwee...
Article
Full-text available
Proceedings of the Twenty-Second Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on The Role of Learnability in Grammatical Theory (1996)
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Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on Pragmatics and Grammatical Structure (1997)
Article
There is a large body of research indicating that speakers of (familiar) European languages tend to encode and conceptualize space from an egocentric perspective, but linguistic fieldworkers have shown that speakers of certain other languages (e.g. Tzeltal) often describe the same spatial scenes based on fixed coordinates of the environment. This h...
Article
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Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society (2000)
Chapter
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Current research on grammaticalization argues that grammatical markers are generally derived from content words (or lexical expressions); but earlier research by Brugmann (1904) and Bühler (1934) showed that grammatical markers are also commonly derived from (spatial) deictics (or demonstratives). The present paper provides an overview of this rese...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
There is a long tradition in linguistics and philosophy of analyzing language without reference to usage and experience. This tradition is reflected in Chomsky’s famous division between competence and performance and Saussure’s related distinction between langue and parole, which have influenced linguistic research for many decades. This view of la...
Article
Full-text available
Recent work in functional and cognitive linguistics has argued and pre-sented evidence that the positioning of adverbial clauses is motivated by competing pressures from syntactic parsing, discourse pragmatics, and se-mantics. Continuing this line of research, the current paper investigates the e¤ect of the iconicity principle on the positioning of...
Article
This paper investigates the development of relative clauses in the speech of one German-speaking child aged 2 ; 0 to 5 ; 0. The earliest relative clauses we found in the data occur in topicalization constructions that are only a little different from simple sentences: they contain a single proposition, express the actor prior to other participants,...
Article
Recent work in psychology and linguistics has shown that frequency of occurrence is an important determinant of language acquisition, language use, and diachronic change. This paper surveys the effects of frequency on the use and development of language and considers the psychological mechanisms that underlie the various frequency effects. The pape...
Article
Full-text available
Why are crosslinguistic generalizations like the noun phrase accessibility hierarchy (NPAH) relevant to our understanding of language acquisition? The answer to this question relies on our view of language universals. In generative linguistics, it is commonly assumed that language universals are based on innate linguistic knowledge. In this approac...
Article
Full-text available
Drawing on recent work in developmental and comparative psychology, this paper argues that demonstratives function to coordinate the interlo-cutors' joint focus of attention, which is one of the most basic functions of human communication. The communicative importance of demonstra-tives is reflected in a number of properties that together character...
Article
Demonstratives, joint attention, and the evolution of grammar Drawing on recent work in developmental and comparative psychology, this paper argues that demonstratives function to coordinate the interlocutors' joint focus of attention, which is one of the most basic functions of human communication. The communicative importance of demonstratives is...
Article
Full-text available
This study reconsiders the acquisition of relative clauses based on data from two sentence-repetition tasks. Using materials modeled on the relative constructions of spontaneous child speech, we asked four-year-old English- and German-speaking children to repeat six different types of relative clauses. Although English and German relative clauses a...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the ordering distribution of main and adverbial clauses. Using corpus data from spoken and written English, it is shown that the positioning of finite adverbial clauses vis-à-vis the main clause varies with their meaning or function: conditional clauses tend to precede the main clause, temporal clauses are common in both initi...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies of the English verb particle construction have shown that particle placement varies with a variety of linguistic features, which seem to influence the speaker's choice of a particular position. The current study investigates whether children's use of the particle varies with the same fea- tures as in adult language. Using corpus data...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines two types of expressions that seem to exist in all languages, demonstratives and interrogatives. Based on a representative sample of 100 languages it is shown that demonstratives and interrogatives have some striking features in common. They cross-cut the boundaries of several word classes and encode the same semantic features:...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the ordering distribution of main and adverbial clauses in crosslinguistic perspective. Using a representative sample of forty languages, the author shows that the ordering of main and adverbial clauses correlates with the position of the subordinator in the subordinate clause. In languages in which adverbial clauses have a fi...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the development of relative clauses in the speech of four English-speaking children between 1;9 and 5;2 years of age. It is shown that the earliest relative clauses occur in presentational constructions that express a single proposition in two ®nite clauses. Starting from such simple sentences, children gradually learn the use o...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the development of ®nite complement clauses in the speech of seven English-speaking children aged 1;2 to 5;2. It shows that in most of children's complex utterances that seem to include a ®nite complement clause, the main clause does not express a full proposition; rather, it functions as an epistemic marker, attention getter,...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract This study,investigates,the,morphosyntactic,properties,of demonstratives,and,their development,into grammatical,markers.,It is based,on,a representative,sample,of eighty-five languages.,The first part argues,that,demonstratives,occur,in four different syntactic,contexts,and,that,languages,differ,as,to,whether,they,employ demonstratives,of...
Article
Full-text available
The theoretical framework used by most researchers of child language development is Chomsky's theory of generative grammar. The theory has changed considerably in recent years. The older model, which is still often used in child language research, is called Principles and Parameters, while the newest version is known as Minimalism (cf. Chomsky 1981...

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