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Volume 54, Issue 4


Cooperation and coercion

Jenny Audring
  • Corresponding author
  • Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9500, 2300 RA Leiden, the Netherlands
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Geert Booij
Published Online: 2016-06-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2016-0012


Coercion is a much-discussed topic in the linguistic literature. This article expands the usual range of cases at the most subtle and the extreme end: it demonstrates how coercion extends into semantic flexibility on the one hand and into idiomaticity on the other. After discussing a broad variety of coercion cases in syntax and morphology and briefly reviewing the equally diverse literature, we identify three mechanisms – selection, enrichment, and override – that have alternatively been proposed to account for coercion effects. We then present an approach that combines all three mechanisms, arguing that they can be unified along a single axis: the degree of top-down influence of complex structures on lexical semantics.

Keywords: coercion; constructions; semantics; polysemy; idioms


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About the article

Published Online: 2016-06-21

Published in Print: 2016-07-01

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 54, Issue 4, Pages 617–637, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2016-0012.

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