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Constructional semantics on the move: on semantic specialization in the English double object construction

Timothy Colleman (UGent) and Bernard De Clerck (UGent)
(2011) COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS. 22(1). p.183-209
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Abstract
In this article we tackle the issue of diachronic variation in constructional semantics through an exploration of the (recent) semantic history of the well-established English ditransitive or double object argument structure construction. Starting from the assumption that schematic syntactic patterns are not fundamentally different from lexical items, we will show that-similar to the diachronic semantic development of lexemes-the semantics of argument structure constructions in general and that of double object constructions in particular, is vulnerable to semasiological shifts as well. More specifically, the analysis, which compares data from 18(th)-century Late Modern English with present-day English, shows that the double object construction's semantic evolution presents a case of specialization, in which the construction has come to be associated with a significantly narrower range of meanings. It will further be argued that such patterns of semantic change are best captured in a model of argument structure semantics which discriminates between central and less-central or prototypical and non-prototypical uses.
Keywords
double object construction, constructional semantics, Late Modern English, semantic change, specialization, constructional polysemy

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Colleman, Timothy, and Bernard De Clerck. 2011. “Constructional Semantics on the Move: On Semantic Specialization in the English Double Object Construction.” Cognitive Linguistics 22 (1): 183–209.
APA
Colleman, Timothy, & De Clerck, B. (2011). Constructional semantics on the move: on semantic specialization in the English double object construction. COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS, 22(1), 183–209.
Vancouver
1.
Colleman T, De Clerck B. Constructional semantics on the move: on semantic specialization in the English double object construction. COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS. 2011;22(1):183–209.
MLA
Colleman, Timothy, and Bernard De Clerck. “Constructional Semantics on the Move: On Semantic Specialization in the English Double Object Construction.” COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS 22.1 (2011): 183–209. Print.
@article{1859997,
  abstract     = {In this article we tackle the issue of diachronic variation in constructional semantics through an exploration of the (recent) semantic history of the well-established English ditransitive or double object argument structure construction. Starting from the assumption that schematic syntactic patterns are not fundamentally different from lexical items, we will show that-similar to the diachronic semantic development of lexemes-the semantics of argument structure constructions in general and that of double object constructions in particular, is vulnerable to semasiological shifts as well. More specifically, the analysis, which compares data from 18(th)-century Late Modern English with present-day English, shows that the double object construction's semantic evolution presents a case of specialization, in which the construction has come to be associated with a significantly narrower range of meanings. It will further be argued that such patterns of semantic change are best captured in a model of argument structure semantics which discriminates between central and less-central or prototypical and non-prototypical uses.},
  author       = {Colleman, Timothy and De Clerck, Bernard},
  issn         = {0936-5907},
  journal      = {COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {183--209},
  title        = {Constructional semantics on the move: on semantic specialization in the English double object construction},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2011},
}

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