Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: Probabilistic Grammar: The view from Cognitive Sociolinguistics


A- A+
Alt. Display


Probabilistic Grammar: The view from Cognitive Sociolinguistics


Jeroen Claes

KU Leuven, Wambachstraat 8, 2018 Antwerp, BE
About Jeroen
I'm a Cognitive Sociolinguist affiliated with K.U Leuven - Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL). I focus on morphosyntactic variation in Spanish. I try to answer the question: Which cognitive, social, and individual factors constrain linguistic variation?
X close


In this paper, I propose that Probabilistic Grammar may benefit from incorporating theoretical insights from Cognitive (Socio)Linguistics. I begin by introducing Cognitive Linguistics. Then, I propose a model of the domain-general cognitive constraints (markedness of coding, statistical preemption, and structural priming) that condition language (variation). Subsequently, three case studies are presented that test the predictions of this model on three distinct alternations in English and Spanish (variable agreement with existential haber, variable agreement with existential there be, and Spanish subject pronoun expression). For each case study, the model generates empirically correct predictions. I conclude that, with the support of Cognitive Sociolinguistics, Probabilistic Grammar may move beyond description towards explanation. 


This article is part of the special collection: Probabilistic grammars: Syntactic variation in a comparative perspective

How to Cite: Claes, J. (2017). Probabilistic Grammar: The view from Cognitive Sociolinguistics. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, 2(1), 62. DOI:
Published on 29 Jun 2017.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus