A corpus-based study of infinitival and sentential complement constructions in Spanish

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This corpus-based study examines Spanish infinitival and sentential complementconstructions. 561 infinitival and 795 sentential complements retrievedfrom the AnCora corpus were subjected to a Distinctive Collexeme Analysis(Gries and Stefanowitsch, 2004) that identified the verbs distinctively associatedwith either complementation. The results suggest that the two are in fact distinctconstructions (Goldberg, 1995, 2006): the infinitival construction attracts verbsdenoting desire, whereas the sentential construction attracts verbs denotingcommunication and mental activity. The results furthermore lend credenceto usage-based constructionist approaches: verbs fall on a continuum ofconstructional preferences from which consistent semantic groups emerge. Weclose with a brief discussion of how grammaticalization processes may accountfor the constructional preferences of specific verbs.


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