A geometric exemplar-based model of semantic structure

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This paper addresses an under-investigated issue of the structure of constructionalmeaning, presenting an innovative corpus-based bottom-up approach,which represents the semantic similarities between exemplars of a constructionwith the help of Multidimensional Scaling. The study explores the main semanticdimensions and senses of the Dutch causative construction with the auxiliarylaten ‘let’. The quantitative analyses of 731 corpus examples, which werecoded for 35 various contextual variables, show that the constructional semanticsis organized as a doughnut, with an empty centre and extensive periphery.The main senses, which are represented by clusters of similar exemplars, are notdiscrete, but represent a continuum. These findings are contrasted with previousaccounts, which assumed a discrete prototype-based structure of the meaning.


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