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Conclusion

I have shown how it is possible to model the treatment of definite articles as proportional quantifiers in at least one cognitive theory a theory which, by taking language to be a classified symbolic network also makes it fairly straightforward to treat variation and change by modelling how networks vary and change. Word Grammar is fully compatible with cognitive and functionalist assumptions about language those are my own assumptions, after all and it also allows us a full and precise modelling of the necessary linguistic structures and of how language changes. There is, in addition, one further point to make: cognitive and functional theories are interested most of all in language use. I hope that in this chapter I have shown how formal findings can be integrated into a cognitive theory, and how in modelling the diachrony that is widely reported to do with the emergence of definite articles, we have also seen something novel about language use and how it plays out in language change. I have also shown how research findings from the formal literature can be implemented in a cognitive model, and even evaluated in a cognitive model: my treatment of the grammaticalization of the is not just an analysis of the history, but is also an evaluation of the claim that the is best treated as a quantifier.

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