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English constructions from a Dutch perspective

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Abstract

In construction grammar, specific constructions are daughters of more general patterns, the former inheriting properties of the latter, besides providing specifications of their own. Therefore, differences and similarities between languages may differentially involve lower and higher levels of generality. This paper demonstrates this by comparing three construction types in Dutch and English: the <i>way </i>construction, the time<i>-away </i>construction, and causative constructions. The first instantiates a productive pattern in English, but not in Dutch. The second is syntactic in English, and morphological in Dutch. The third inherits more properties from general clause syntax in Dutch than in English. The grammatical properties of each case nevertheless show important similarities. Low-level constructions may strongly determine cross-linguistic similarity, due to similarity of form-meaning pairing.

References

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