Discourse Analysis & Pragmatics

Discourse analysis is a subfield of linguistics that is focused on conversation and the interaction of speech and large amounts of language. This is quite different from a focus on formalized, abstract grammars like generative syntax. Complexity science can provide more options in the researcher’s toolbox for analyzing language in use in terms of both the fractal properties of grammar, showing prevalent usage and also how this works in terms of the discourse analyst view of language as a social practice.


Most scholars from North America who study syntax adhere to Universal Grammar and generativism, first promoted by linguist Noam Chomsky. Universal Grammar argues that language is innate rather than learned. Generative grammarians work to list out the most succinct set of rules possible for producing grammatical structures in a given language, while structuralists prefer including a wider set of rules for anything that could be considered grammatical by a native speaker of a language.

Complexity Science and Linguistics

Complex systems is a natural fit with the science of language. Because nonlinear asymptotic hyperbolic curves (A-curves) are found in any situation of use and across social, geographical, and textual spaces, they can be used and analyzed in a variety of contexts and across different subfields of linguistics for various research purposes for the data at hand. A-curves can be used in linguistics subfields to model all aspects of the data and variation found there.


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