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Michaelis, Laura A Professor

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  • Dr. Michaelis's research focus is linguistic creativity, but not the kind that linguists are usually talking about when they use this term. Since the advent of generative linguistics in the 1950s, creativity has been used to refer not to a human faculty but rather to a property of the so-called generative engine, a mechanism that can produce an infinite set of sentences using a finite set of symbols (words) and a finite set of rules of combination (syntax). Dr. Michaelis tries to put humans back into grammatical picture by focusing on what they do best: exploiting the expressive potentials of forms. In particular, she studies how humans adapt grammatical routines to solve commonly encountered communicative problems and how they change the ordinary affordances of words and constructions in the service of wit and verbal dexterity.

keywords

  • construction-based syntax, corpus syntax, lexical semantics, discourse-pragmatics

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