Idiomatic singleton or prototype? A productivity analysis of be-adj-and-v

  • 1 Université de Neuchâtel
Susanne Flach

Abstract

This article addresses the morphological constraint on the ‘formulaic frame’ be-sure-and-v (Be sure and wear flowers in your hair!), whose idiomatic reading disappears in inflected uses (*She was sure and wore flower in her hair). This constraint also applies to certain verbal patterns (go/come-v, try-and-v) and is at least probabilistic for others (wait and see, go-and-v). A recent usage-based approach suggests that the so-called Bare Stem Condition follows from the semantics of the affected patterns, which are schematically non-assertive and thus functionally inappropriate for use in inflected, assertive environments. The same can be shown to apply to hortative be-sure-and-v, suggesting that the morphological behaviour of both verbal and adjectival pseudo-coordination have the same underlying functional-semantic constraint motivation.

Supporting evidence comes from the status of be-sure-and-v relative to instantiations of the pattern: rather than being an idiosyncratic, isolated idiom, be-sure-and-v is a subtype of a moderately productive be-adj-and-v construction (be honest and admit, be patient and wait). Be-adj-and-v shows many of the characteristics of other pseudo-coordinated constructions, including the combination of semantically coherent slots fillers (flexible–adapt, glad–rejoice) and the asymmetric framing of single events. Methodologically, the article showcases how Collostructional Analyses can be used as diagnostic tools to identify (sub)types and slot-filler consistency in a bottom-up fashion, separating schema instantiations from syntagmatic ‘noise’ (i.e., the compositional adjectival predicate, My raspberries are ripe and taste delicious). Thus, the method identifies (and confirms) be-sure-and-v as the morphological, semantic, and statistical prototype of the more general schema.

  • Bjorkman, Bronwyn M. 2015. Go get, come see: Motion verbs, morphological restrictions, and syncretism. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. aop. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Carden, Guy & David Pesetsky. 1977. Double–verb constructions, markedness, and a fake co-ordination. CLS(13). 82–92.

  • Ekberg, Lena. 1993. The cognitive basis of the meaning and function of cross-linguistic take and V. In Jan Nuyts & Eric Pederson (eds.), Perspectives on Language and Conceptualization, 21–42. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Flach, Susanne. 2015. Let’s go look at usage: A constructional approach to formal constraints on go-VERB. In Thomas Herbst & Peter Uhrig (eds.), Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association (Volume 3), 231–252. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Flach, Susanne. 2017a. Serial verb constructions in English: A usage-based approach. Freie Universität Berlin Doctoral dissertation.

  • Flach, Susanne. 2017b. Collostructions: An R implementation for the familiy of collostructional methods. http://bit.ly/sflach.

  • Gries, Stefan Th. & Anatol Stefanowitsch. 2004. Extending collostructional analysis: A corpus-based perspective on “alternations.” International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 9(1). 97–129.

  • Hopper, Paul. 2002. Hendiadys and auxiliation in English. In Joan L Bybee & Michael Noonan (eds.), Complex sentences in grammar and discourse. Essays in honor of Sandra A. Thompson, 145–173. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

  • Huddleston, Rodney D. & Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Jaeggli, Osvaldo A. & Nina M. Hyams. 1993. On the independence and interdependence of syntactic and morphological properties: English aspectual come and go. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 11(2). 313–346.

  • Newman, John & Sally Rice. 2008. Asymmetry in English multi-verb sequences: A corpus-based approach. In Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk (ed.), Asymmetric events, 3–23. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Pullum, Geoffrey K. 1990. Constraints on intransitive quasi-serial verb constructions in modern colloquial English. In Brian D. Joseph & Arnold M. Zwicky (eds.), When verbs collide: Papers from the 1990 Ohio State mini-conference on serial verbs, 218–239. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University.

  • Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech & Jan Svartvik. 1985. A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London: Longman.

  • Schäfer, Roland & Felix Bildhauer. 2012. Building large corpora from the web using a new efficient tool chain. In Nicoletta Calzolari, Khalid Choukri, Thierry Declerck, Mehmet Uğur Doğan, Bente Maegaard, Joseph Mariani, Jan Odijk & Stelios Piperidis (eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC’12), 486–493. Istanbul: ELRA.

  • Shopen, Timothy. 1971. Caught in the act. CLS(7). 254–263.

  • Stefanowitsch, Anatol. 1999. The go-and-VERB construction in a cross-linguistic perspective: Image-schema blending and the construal of events. In Dawn Nordquist & Catie Berkenfield (eds.), Proceedings of the Second Annual High Desert Linguistics Society Conference, 123–134. Albuquerque, NM: High Desert Linguistics Society.

  • Stefanowitsch, Anatol. 2000. The English GO-(PRT)-AND-VERB construction. Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on Aspect, 259–270.

  • Stefanowitsch, Anatol & Susanne Flach. submitted. Too big to fail but big enough to pay for their mistakes: A collostructional analysis of the patterns [too ADJ to V] and [ADJ enough to V]. In Gloria Corpas & Ulrich Heid (eds.), Current trends in Computational Phraseology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Stefanowitsch, Anatol & Stefan Th. Gries. 2005. Covarying collexemes. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory 1(1). 1–43. doi:.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Wulff, Stefanie. 2006. Go-V vs. go-and-V in English: A case of constructional synonymy? In Stefan Th. Gries & Anatol Stefanowitsch (eds.), Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics, 101–126. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


Journal + Issues

The Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association documents the exchange of ideas in the Cognitive Linguistics research community and related fields, not just in Germany but all over the world. It brings together researchers from a variety of theoretical and methodological frameworks, whose work is informed by a broad view of language both as an integral part of human cognition and as a set of socially situated communicative practices.

Search