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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 17, 2011

Constructions, Word Grammar, and grammaticalization

Nikolas Gisborne
From the journal


In this paper, I explore the hypothesis that constructions — here understood primarily as the dependencies of Word Grammar — can undergo systematic change, sometimes partly due to the effects of the grammaticalization of a lexical item or class of lexical items. I argue that the development of will as a future tense marker in English involves the development of a new construction where two separate syntactic items are associated with a single event in the semantics. I also look at the loss of the impersonal construction in English, where it has been argued that the change is driven by an increase in the schematicity of the Transitive Construction, as well as having been argued that dative experiencers have been reclassified as subjects. I observe that it has also been noted that dative experiencers could function as subjects in earlier varieties of English, and suggest that this is an example of category strengthening.

Received: 2010-04-06
Revised: 2010-08-04
Published Online: 2011-05-17
Published in Print: 2011-February

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York