Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 6, 2018

Recent change in the productivity and schematicity of the way-construction: A distributional semantic analysis

Florent Perek EMAIL logo

Abstract

This paper presents a corpus-based study of recent change in the English way-construction, drawing on data from the 1830s to the 2000s. Semantic change in the distribution of the construction is characterized by means of a distributional semantic model, which captures semantic similarity between verbs through their co-occurrence frequency with other words in the corpus. By plotting and comparing the semantic domain of the three senses of the construction at different points in time, it is found that they all have gained in semantic diversity. These findings are interpreted in terms of increases in schematicity, either of the verb slot or the motion component contributed by the construction.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their useful comments on an earlier version of this paper. I am also indebted to Amanda Patten for her help with the inter-annotator agreement study and her feedback on the article.

References

Andrews, Mark, Gabriella Vigliocco & David P. Vinson. 2009. Integrating experiential and distributional data to learn semantic representations. Psychological Review 116(3). 463–498.10.1037/a0016261Search in Google Scholar

Baayen, Harald. 1992. Quantitative aspects of morphological productivity. In Gert E. Booij & Jaap van Marle (eds.), Yearbook of Morphology 1991, 109–149. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.10.1007/978-94-011-2516-1_8Search in Google Scholar

Baayen, Harald. 1993. On frequency, transparency, and productivity. In Gert E. Booij & Jaap van Marle (eds.), Yearbook of Morphology 1992, 181–208. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.10.1007/978-94-017-3710-4_7Search in Google Scholar

Baayen, Harald. 2009. Corpus linguistics in morphology: Morphological productivity. In Anke Lüdeling & Merja Kytö (eds.), Corpus linguistics. An international handbook, Vol. 2, 899–919. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Baayen, Harald & Rochelle Lieber. 1991. Productivity and English derivation: A corpus-based study. Linguistics 29. 801–844.10.1515/ling.1991.29.5.801Search in Google Scholar

Barðdal, Jóhanna. 2008. Productivity: Evidence from case and argument structure in Icelandic. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/cal.8Search in Google Scholar

Bergs, Alex & Gabriele Diewald (eds.). 2008. Constructions and language change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110211757Search in Google Scholar

Bybee, Joan. 2006. From usage to grammar: The mind’s response to repetition. Language 82(4). 711–733.10.1353/lan.2006.0186Search in Google Scholar

Bybee, Joan. 2010. Language, usage and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511750526Search in Google Scholar

Bybee, Joan & David Eddington. 2006. A usage-based approach to Spanish verbs of ‘becoming’. Language 82(2). 323–355.10.1353/lan.2006.0081Search in Google Scholar

Colleman, Timothy. 2011. Ditransitive verbs and the ditransitive construction: A diachronic perspective. Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 59(4). 387–410.10.1515/zaa-2011-0408Search in Google Scholar

Colleman, Timothy & Bernard De Clerck. 2011. Constructional semantics on the move: On semantic specialization in the English double object construction. Cognitive Linguistics 22(1). 183–209.10.1515/cogl.2011.008Search in Google Scholar

Davies, Mark. 2012. Expanding horizons in historical linguistics with the 400-million word corpus of historical American English. Corpora 7(2). 121–157.10.3366/cor.2012.0024Search in Google Scholar

Ellis, Nick C., Matthew O’Donnell & Ute Römer. 2014. Does language Zipf right along? Investigating robustness in the latent structures of usage and acquisition. In Jeffrey Connor-Linton & Luke W. Amoroso (eds.), Measured language: Quantitative studies of acquisition, assessment, processing and variation, 33–50. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Erk, Katrin. 2012. Vector space models of word meaning and phrase meaning: A survey. Language and Linguistics Compass 6(10). 635–653.10.1002/lnco.362Search in Google Scholar

Evert, Stefan. 2005. The statistics of word cooccurrences: Word pairs and collocations. Stuttgart: Institut für maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung, University of Stuttgart. urn:nbn:de:bsz:93-opus-23714.Search in Google Scholar

Fillmore, Charles J., Paul Kay & Mary Catherine O’Connor. 1988. Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of Let Alone. Language 64(3). 501–53810.2307/414531Search in Google Scholar

Firth, John R. 1968 [1957]. A Synopsis of Linguistic Theory, 1930–55. In Frank Palmer (ed.), Selected Papers of J. R. Firth 1952–59, 168–205. Bloomington & London: Indiana University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Fried, Mirjam. 2009. Construction grammar as a tool for diachronic analysis. Constructions and Frames 1(2). 261–91.10.1075/cf.1.2.04friSearch in Google Scholar

Fried, Mirjam. 2010. Grammaticalization and lexicalization effects in participial morphology: A construction grammar approach to language change. In An Van linden, Jean-Christophe Verstraete & Kristin Davidse (eds.), Formal evidence in grammaticalization research, 191–224. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/tsl.94.07friSearch in Google Scholar

Fried, Mirjam. 2013. Principles of constructional change. In Thomas Hoffmann and Graeme Trousdale (eds.), The Oxford handbook of construction grammar, 419–437. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195396683.013.0023Search in Google Scholar

Fried, Mirjam & Jan-Ola Östman. 2004. Construction grammar: A thumbnail sketch. In Mirjam Fried & Jan-Ola Östman (eds.), Construction grammar in a cross-language perspective, 11–86. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/cal.2.02friSearch in Google Scholar

Gaeta, Livio & Davide Ricca. 2006. Productivity in Italian word formation: A variable-corpus approach. Linguistics 44(1). 57–89.10.1515/LING.2006.003Search in Google Scholar

Goldberg, Adele E. 1995. Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Search in Google Scholar

Goldberg, Adele E. 2006. Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199268511.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Goldberg, Adele E., Devin M. Casenhiser & Nitya Sethuraman. 2004. Learning argument structure generalizations. Cognitive Linguistics 15(3). 289–316.10.1515/cogl.2004.011Search in Google Scholar

Gries, Stefan T. & Anatol Stefanowitsch. 2010. Cluster analysis and the identification of collexeme classes. In Sally Rice & John Newman (eds.), Empirical and experimental methods in cognitive/functional research, 73–90. Stanford, CA: CSLI.Search in Google Scholar

Hill, Felix, Roi Reichart & Anna Korhonen. 2014. SimLex-999: Evaluating semantic models with (genuine) similarity estimation. URN: arXiv:1408.3456 <http://arxiv.org/abs/1408.3456v1> (15 September 2015).Search in Google Scholar

Hilpert, Martin. 2012. Diachronic collostructional analysis. How to use it, and how to deal with confounding factors. In Kathryn Allan & Justyna Robynson (eds.), Current methods in historical semantics, 133–160. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110252903.133Search in Google Scholar

Hilpert, Martin. 2013. Constructional change in English: Developments in allomorphy, word formation, and syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139004206Search in Google Scholar

Hopper, Paul J. 1991. On some principles of grammaticalization. In Elizabeth C. Traugott & Bernd Heine (eds.), Approaches to grammaticalization, Vol. 1, 17–35. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/tsl.19.1.04hopSearch in Google Scholar

Israel, Michael. 1996. The way constructions grow. In Adele E. Goldberg (ed.), Conceptual structure, discourse and language, 217–230. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.Search in Google Scholar

Jackendoff, Ray. 1990. Semantic structures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kay, Paul & Charles J. Fillmore. 1999. Grammatical constructions and linguistic generalizations: The What’s X doing Y? construction. Language 75. 1–33.10.2307/417472Search in Google Scholar

Kruskal, Joseph B. 1964. Multidimensional scaling by optimizing goodness of fit to a nonmetric hypothesis. Psychometrika 29(1). 1–27.10.1007/BF02289565Search in Google Scholar

Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Search in Google Scholar

Landauer, Thomas K., Peter W. Foltz & Darrell Laham. 1998. Introduction to Latent Semantic Analysis. Discourse Processes 25. 259–284.10.1080/01638539809545028Search in Google Scholar

Lenci, Alessandro. 2008. Distributional semantics in linguistic and cognitive research. Rivista di Linguistica 20(1). 1–31.Search in Google Scholar

Lund, Kevin, Curt Burgess & Ruth A. Atchley. 1995. Semantic and associative priming in a high-dimensional semantic space. In Cognitive Science Proceedings (LEA), 660–665.Search in Google Scholar

Mondorf, Britta. 2011. Variation and change in English resultative constructions. Language Variation and Change 22(3). 397–421.10.1017/S0954394510000165Search in Google Scholar

Noël, Dirk. 2007. Diachronic construction grammar and grammaticalization theory. Functions of Language 14(2). 177–202.10.1075/fol.14.2.04noeSearch in Google Scholar

Noël, Dirk. 2008. The nominative and infinitive in late modern English: A diachronic constructionist approach. Journal of English Linguistics 36(4). 314–340.10.1177/0075424208321750Search in Google Scholar

Noël, Dirk & Timothy Colleman. 2010. Believe-type raising-to-object and raising-to-subject verbs in English and Dutch: A contrastive investigation in diachronic construction grammar. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 15(2). 157–182.10.1075/bct.43.02noeSearch in Google Scholar

Perek, Florent. 2016. Using distributional semantics to study syntactic productivity in diachrony: A case study. Linguistics 54(1). 149–188.10.1515/ling-2015-0043Search in Google Scholar

Perek, Florent & Maarten Lemmens. 2010. Getting at the meaning of the English at-construction: The case of a constructional split. CogniTextes 5. http://cognitextes.revues.org/33110.4000/cognitextes.331Search in Google Scholar

R Development Core Team. 2015. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. http://www.R-project.org/Search in Google Scholar

Römer, Ute, Matthew B. O’Donnell & Nick C. Ellis. 2015. Using COBUILD grammar patterns for a large-scale analysis of verb-argument constructions: Exploring corpus data and speaker knowledge. In Nicholas Groom, Maggie Charles & Suganthi John (eds.), Corpora, grammar and discourse: In honour of Susan Hunston, 43–72. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/scl.73.03romSearch in Google Scholar

Suttle, Laura & Adele E. Goldberg. 2011. The partial productivity of constructions as induction. Linguistics 49(6). 1237–1269.10.1515/ling.2011.035Search in Google Scholar

Szczesniak, Konrad. 2013. You can’t cry your way to candy: Motion events and paths in the x’s way construction. Cognitive Linguistics 24(1). 159–194.10.1515/cog-2013-0006Search in Google Scholar

Traugott, Elizabeth C. 2003. Constructions in grammaticalization. In Brian D. Joseph & Richard D. Janda (eds.), The handbook of historical linguistics, 624–647. Oxford: Blackwell.10.1002/9780470756393.ch20Search in Google Scholar

Traugott, Elizabeth C. 2008. Grammaticalization, constructions and the incremental development of language: Suggestions from the development of degree modifiers in English. In Regine Eckardt, Gerhard Jäger & Tonjes Veenstra (eds.), Variation, selection, development: Probing the evolutionary model of language change, 219–250. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Traugott, Elizabeth C. & Graeme Trousdale. 2013. Constructionalization and constructional changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199679898.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Trousdale, Graeme 2010. Issues in constructional approaches to grammaticalization in English. In Katharine Stathi, Elke Gehweiler & Ekkehard König (eds.), Grammaticalization: Current views and issues, 51–72. Amsterdam: Benjamins.10.1075/slcs.119.05troSearch in Google Scholar

Trousdale, Graeme 2012. Grammaticalization, constructions, and the grammaticalization of constructions. In Kristin Davidse, Tine Breban, Lieselotte Brems & Tanja Mortelmans (eds.), Grammaticalization and language change: New reflections, 167–98. Amsterdam: Benjamins.10.1075/slcs.130.07troSearch in Google Scholar

Turney, Peter & Patrick Pantel. 2010. From frequency to meaning: Vector space models of semantics. Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 37. 141–188.10.1613/jair.2934Search in Google Scholar

Van der Maaten, Laurens & Geoffrey Hinton. 2008. Visualizing data using t-SNE. Journal of Machine Learning Research 9. 2579–2605.Search in Google Scholar

Zipf, George K. 1935. The psycho-biology of language: An introduction to dynamic philology. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.Search in Google Scholar


Supplemental Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2016-0014).


Published Online: 2018-4-6
Published in Print: 2018-4-25

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 3.12.2022 from frontend.live.degruyter.dgbricks.com/document/doi/10.1515/cllt-2016-0014/html
Scroll Up Arrow