where are the distinctions

Suzanne E Kemmer kemmer at RUF.RICE.EDU
Thu Apr 10 15:59:40 UTC 1997


What I meant by "actually turns out to be" is "whatever turns out
to be the correct analys(es) for what they're doing".
The kids may in fact be doing different things, and certainly
what they are doing in their linguistic behavior is
a result of whatever categorization they have managed
to abstract in their minds.

I don't believe in "actual distinctions" in the sense
of people's categorizations lying "out there" in the
data, they are mental phenomena.   So "actual distinction"
is the "cognitive distinction(s) the kids are IN FACT making".

Here's an example of how words suggest different things,
guided by what we believe and what we believe others to
believe. It's probably the main source of misunderstandings
among linguists!!


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