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Constructionalization and post-constructionalization

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Abstract

The grammatical literature on Dutch generally distinguishes two &#8220;passive&#8221; alternatives to the active double object construction, one of which, the so-called <i>krijgen</i>-passive is a fairly recent addition to the grammar, the earliest reported examples dating from around 1900. The present chapter addresses the early and subsequent history of this construction from a diachronic constructionist perspective. The first part of the chapter uses data from the 1900&#8211;1935 volumes of the Dutch periodical <i>De Gids </i>to reconstruct the lexical and semantic range of the <i>krijgen</i>-passive in its very first decades of life, in order to investigate which (semantic and/or morphological) subclasses of ditransitive verbs played a pathbreaking role in the development of this new construction from other <i>krijgen</i> &#43; participle constructions, i.e. in the constructionalization of the <i>krijgen</i>-passive. The second part of the chapter looks into post-constructionalization semantic change, i.e. into the subsequent expansion of the newly emerged construction towards more sub-classes of ditransitive verbs, on the basis of data from the diachronic CONDIV-corpus (1950s to 1990s). Contra recent non-constructionist proposals, it will be argued that the <i>krijgen</i>-passive is an argument structure construction in its own right, with a semantic dynamics of its own, and that the apparently random constraints on its present-day distribution are less puzzling when viewed against the background of the construction&#8217;s genesis and subsequent semantic expansion.

References

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