Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #373
Relational Autoclitics of Order and the Analysis of Language
Monday, May 25, 2020
12:00 PM–12:20 PM
Area: VRB
Chair: Robert Dlouhy (Western Michigan University)
Relational Autoclitics of Order and the Analysis of Language
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: In Chapter 13 of Verbal Behavior, Skinner (1957) introduced and discussed at length autoclitic and intraverbal frames. These also have been discussed in the behavior analytic literature for their accounts of syntax, but have not attracted much, if any, interest by linguists outside the field. Julie Andresen (1992) argued that this lack of attention was due to Skinner’s focus on the pragmatics of verbal behavior, not its topography. However, Skinner mentioned another autoclitic earlier in Chapter 13, the relational autoclitic of order (RAO), which has been mostly unnoticed. The RAO addresses the sequencing of verbal responses and the relations between them. Skinner provided only a brief example of this autoclitic, but linguistically informed readers will notice correspondences between what he implies in this passage and present-day linguistic views on syntactic constructions. This paper will interpret the RAO to provide behavior analytic accounts of such linguistic phenomena as word classes, construction classes, and semantic relations between constituents of constructions. The hope is that behavior analysts working in the area of verbal behavior will have a better-informed basis for designing applications and planning research.



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