Towards a constructionist account of secondary predication with <i>verba dicendi et declarandi</i> in English and Spanish

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Drawing on data extracted from the <i>British National Corpus </i>and the <i>Corpus de Referencia del Español Actual </i>in conjunction with elicitation data from native speakers, this chapter constitutes a first step towards a constructionist, usage-based analysis of secondary predication with <i>verba dicendi et declarandi </i>(e.g., <i>say</i>, <i>declare</i>,<i>decir </i>‘say’, <i>declarar </i>‘declare’) in English and Spanish. Within this environment (the “declarative subjective-transitive” construction), at least three lower-level (i.e., item-specific) configurations can be posited in the light of coercion <i>via </i>a reflexive pronoun, an imperative form and the passive voice in both languages. While there is a considerable degree of similarity regarding the inventory of matrix verbs as well as the specific combinations attested in these three environments in English and Spanish, the symmetry is nonetheless far from perfect, thus corroborating the language-specific nature of constructions (Croft 2003).


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