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

  • Florent Perek EMAIL logo


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.


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.


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

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