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Cognitive Linguistics

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The concepts of constructional mismatch and type-shifting from the perspective of grammaticalization

*Contact address: Department of Linguistics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2150, USA.

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics. Volume 18, Issue 4, Pages 523–557, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: 10.1515/COG.2007.027, December 2007

Publication History

Published Online:


The concepts mismatch, type-shifting, and coercion are central to much recent work on cognitive linguistics. In a number of papers, Michaelis has investigated entity and event coercion (Michaelis 2003a, b, 2004 a, b). I address her question “what conditions favor the diachronic development of shift constructions” (Michaelis 2004a: 8) from the perspective of grammaticalization, with particular reference to the development of partitive constructions like a bit of apple into degree modifier constructions like a bit of a hypocrite. I show why these are different constructions, and conclude that the most important factors have to do with matching quantitative implicatures to already extant quantifying degree modifiers with NP heads, and with the strategies for expressing how much “pragmatic slack” (Lasersohn 1999) is available in computing denotations.

Keywords: type-shifting; coercion; partitive construction; degree modifier construction; construction grammar; grammaticalization

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