Constructions as grammatical objects

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It is now accepted that constructions exist at all levels in grammar from clausal syntax to word level morphology and even within the lexicon itself where lexical items themselves may be viewed as constructions. Constructions may also encompass lexical, semantic and pragmatic information. The semantics and/or pragmatics are not predictable from the set of lexical items in the construction. There is now recognition that the RRG account of constructions is a significantly under-utilised resource (Nolan 2013, 2012a, b, 2011). As functional linguists, the important empirical questions are: (1) How does the theory understand a construction? (2) What does a construction contain? (3) How do the constructions relate to the grammar and other constructions? (4) To what extent is our grammatical knowledge organized in constructions? (5) Do constructions include information about form, function and meaning? (6) Are constructions organized in a structured network? This paper proposes a view of constructions as structured grammatical objects and we motivate this account with new evidence of constructions from Modern Irish.


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