Wim Gombert

28 CHAPTER 2 of meaning and language use, the focus is rst and foremost on grammatical form, with meaning and use added as separate components at a later stage. Example 2 below illustrates this deconstructing process. (2) Il (Subject-pronoun) était (predicator-third person singular-past tense) une fois (adverbial-noun phrase) une maman cochonne [qui / avait / trois petits cochons]. (Subject Attribute-noun phrase modi ed by a relative clause) Another way of approaching this example is through the lens of usage-based theory (for an overview, see Ellis & Wul , 2015). A usage-based view does not deny that sentences have major constituents that can themselves be broken down and analyzed, nor that there are regularities in language, but usage-based approaches emphasize that such categories are superimposed at the analytical level by linguists and, for learners, they do not necessarily have any psychological reality (Cf., Devitt, 2003). Instead, the premise underlying usage-based approaches to language learning is that a speaker uses sequences of sounds (forms) that have been used and that have been encountered in similar contexts (use) with a similar denotation (meaning). Form-use-meaning combinations that have been used most frequently, and are thus most salient for learners, are the ones that are typically learned rst, that become entrenched in the mind, and are eventually produced automatically. Some of these sequences are rather xed (as in chunks or other multi-word sequences) but others have open slots, and the sequence can form a template for new-to-be-acquired sequences and constructions (as in Verb-Argument Constructions). Example 3 illustrates form-function combinations. (3) Il était une fois (a xed phrase that is used to introduce a fairy tale) une maman cochonne (a being) qui avait (expressing some possession) trois petits cochons. (some beings) Departing from this foundation, usage-based theories thus view language as a complex and dynamic system where form, meaning and use are integrated and continually interact and give rise to new utterances. Tomasello (2003) (and many others) have applied usage-based theorizing to rst language acquisition and, more recently, usagebased theories (strongly aligned with Cognitive Linguistics) have found their way into SLA (Bybee, 2009, Cadierno & Eskildson, 2015, Tyler & Ortega, 2016, Ellis et al., 2016, Verspoor et al., 2012, Schmid, 2020). e main di erence between structural and usage-based theories, then, is that language from a usage-based perspective is not seen as a largely independent systematic