Chapter 3. From lexicalization to constructional generalizations

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This article deals with French constructions such as sous l’emprise de (‘under the influence of’), which have been called locutions prépositives (complex prepositions) in the French linguistic tradition. Putting the issue of lexicalization aside, I establish regular complex form-meaning patterns (i.e. constructions) within a family of formally related complex prepositions introduced by sous (‘under’). I show that the construction as a whole (which is part of a network of more or less schematic constructions) exhibits formal and semantic properties that cannot be ascribed to its constituent parts. The analysis is confirmed by showing that there are coercion effects exerted by the construction on the central noun.


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