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Cognitive Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Newman, John

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 2.135

CiteScore 2016: 1.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 1.247
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 1.485

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1613-3641
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Volume 23, Issue 3 (Aug 2012)

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Alternation-based generalizations are stored in the mental grammar: Evidence from a sorting task experiment

Florent Perek,
Published Online: 2012-07-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0018

Abstract

According to constructional approaches, grammar consists of an inventory of symbolic pairings of a syntactic form with an abstract meaning. Many of such so-called constructions can be perceived as having highly similar meanings: such pairs have been discussed under the name of alternations, especially in the domain of argument structure, for example the widely documented dative alternation (e.g. John gave Mary a book vs. John gave a book to Mary). This paper explores what status such pairs of constructions can be given in construction grammar, on the basis of a sorting task experiment.

Construction grammar traditionally recognizes generalizations of a common syntactic form over semantically similar sentences, but the status of higher-level generalizations of a common meaning over syntactically different forms is rarely discussed. In our study, we devised a sorting task that subjects could resolve by relying on generalizations of either of these two kinds. We find that subjects rely on alternation-based generalizations more often than purely constructional ones in their sorting behavior. We suggest these results show that generalizations of a common meaning between formally different constructions are plausible categories stored by speakers and should be given more attention in construction grammar research.

Keywords: construction grammar; argument structure; alternations; generalizations; sorting task

About the article

Received: 2011-07-18

Accepted: 2012-03-31

Published Online: 2012-07-17

Published in Print: 2012-08-28


Citation Information: , ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2012-0018.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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[2]
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Constructions and Frames, 2016, Volume 8, Number 1, Page 125

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