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Cognitive Linguistics

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You can't cry your way to candy: Motion events and paths in the x's way construction

Konrad Szczesniak
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Published Online: 2013-01-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0006


This paper examines previous analyses of the x's way construction, focusing on the readings attributed to it within the Construction Grammar framework and constraints on the types of verbs allowed in the construction. It questions some of the characterizations of the construction and offers an alternative view that accounts for uses of the construction that have not been considered before. Specifically, it will demonstrate that metaphoric uses, particularly those with obtainment readings, reveal interesting properties of the construction that define how it assembles motion events and paths in these events. These will be shown to follow constraints of differing rigidity. While motion events can involve disparate subevents blended together, paths do not allow any integration of incongruous elements. The construction follows universal principles which govern how complex event schemas can be blended out of simpler schemas in linguistic constructions. More generally, as a closed-class form, not only does the construction conform to event-schema protocol, but its meaning associated with a motion event is a spare reading typical of a closed-class form. Thus the present analysis attempts to reconcile its constructionist approach to the way construction with the traditional division into closed- and open-class forms.

Keywords: the way construction; manner and motion; path; closed and open-class forms; obtainment

Universidade do Porto, Portugal

Uniwersytet Slaski, Poland

Published Online: 2013-01-25

Published in Print: 2013-01-28

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics. Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 159–194, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2013-0006, January 2013

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