Phrasal Constructions and Resultativeness in English

A sign-oriented analysis

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<i><b>Eat up</b> the apple</i> or <i><b>Eat</b> the apple <b>up</b></i>? Is there any difference in the messages each of these alternative forms sends? If there isn’t, why bother to keep both? On the other hand, is there any semantic similarity between <i>eat the apple up</i> and <i>break the glass to pieces</i>? This study takes a fresh look at a still controversial issue of phrasal verbs and their alternate word order applying sign-oriented theory and methodology. Unlike other analyses, it asserts that there is a semantic distinction between the two word order variants phrasal verbs may appear in. In order to test this distinction, the author analyzes a large corpus of data and also uses translation into a language having a clear morphological distinction between resultative/non-resultative forms (Russian). As follows from the analysis, English has morphological and syntactic tools to express resultative meaning, which allows suggesting a new lexico-grammatical category – resultativeness.

Subjects: Germanic linguistics; Syntax; English linguistics; Theoretical linguistics; Semantics

  • Affiliations: 1: Metropolitan State College of Denver

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