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Synopsis

Lexical Priming proposes a radical new theory of the lexicon, which amounts to a completely new theory of language based on how words are used in the real world. Here they are not confined to the definitions given to them in dictionaries but instead interact with other words in common patterns of use.

Using concrete statistical evidence from a corpus of newspaper English, but also referring to travel writing and literary text, the author argues that words are 'primed' for use through our experience with them, so that everything we know about a word is a product of our encounters with it. This knowledge explains how speakers of a language succeed in being fluent, creative and natural.

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