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Locative alternation and two levels of verb meaning
Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics. Volume 16, Issue 2, Pages 355–407, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: 10.1515/cogl.2005.16.2.355, July 2005
- Published Online:
Verbs like load or spray are known to alternate between two variants (John sprayed paint onto the wall / John sprayed the wall with paint ). Both Rappaport and Levin (1988) and Pinker (1989) derive one variant from the other, but these lexical rule approaches have a number of problems. This paper argues for a form-meaning correspondence model which distinguishes between two levels of verb meaning: that of a lexical head spray on the one hand and that of a phrasal constituent spray paint onto the wall or spray the wall with paint on the other. Locative alternation stems from the fact that a frame semantic scene encoded by spray can be construed in two alternate ways. This proposed model allows us to account for the data straightforwardly without suffering from the problems created by lexical rule approaches. This proposed analysis is fundamentally the same as Goldberg’s (1995) in being a version of Construction Grammar approach. But unlike Goldberg’s Correspondence Principle-based account, my analysis makes the most of the semantic compatibility between verbs and constructions, thereby giving a more straightforward account of locative alternation.
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