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Constructions and Frames

image of Constructions and Frames
ISSN 1876-1933
E-ISSN 1876-1941

<p><em>Constructions and Frames</em> is an international peer-reviewed journal that provides a forum for construction-based approaches to language analysis. Constructional models emphasize the role of constructions, as conventional pairings of meaning and form, in stating language-specific and cross-linguistic generalizations and in accounting equally for regular and semi-regular patterns. Frame Semantics, which has become a semantic complement of some constructional approaches, elaborates the analysis of form-meaning relationships by focusing on lexical semantic issues that are relevant to grammatical structure. The preoccupation of constructional theories with meaning allows for natural integration of grammatical inquiry with semantic, pragmatic, and discourse research; often coupled with corpus evidence, this orientation also enriches current perspectives on language acquisition, language change, and language use. </p><p><em>Constructions and Frames</em> publishes articles which range from descriptions of grammatical phenomena in different languages to constructionally-oriented work in cognitive linguistics, grammaticalization theory, typology, conversation analysis and interactional linguistics, poetics, and sociolinguistics. Articles that explore applications to or implications for related fields, such as communication studies, computational linguistics, lexicography, psychology, and anthropology are also invited.</p><p>The aim of the journal is to promote innovative research that extends constructional approaches in new directions and along interdisciplinary paths.</p>

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  • Beyond the sentence: Constructions, frames and spoken interaction
    • Author: Kerstin Fischer
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 185 –207
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    • Construction grammarians are still quite reluctant to extend their descriptions to units beyond the sentence. However, the theoretical premises of construction grammar and frame semantics are particularly suited to cover spoken interaction from a cognitive perspective. Furthermore, as construction grammar is anchored in the cognitive linguistics paradigm and as such subscribes to meaning being grounded in experience, it needs to consider interaction since grammatical structures may be grounded not only in sensory-motor, but also in social-interactive experience. The example of grounded language learning experiments demonstrates the anchoring of grammatical mood in interaction. Finally, phenomena peculiar to spoken dialogue, such as pragmatic markers, may be best accounted for as constructions, drawing on frame semantics. The two cognitive linguistic notions, frames and constructions, are therefore particularly useful to account for generalisation in spoken interaction.
  • Parts of speech as constructions: The case of Hebrew “adverbs”
    • Authors: Bracha Nir, and Ruth Berman
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 242 –274
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    • The paper re-appraises accepted classifications of linguistic elements into word-level constructions on the one hand and in terms of Parts-of-Speech systems on the other from the point of view of Construction Grammar (CxG). We focus on a particular adverbial construction in Hebrew, with the surface form PrepOC, where “Prep” is one of the four basic prepositions in the language and OC stands for fixed forms of a lexically restricted group of Nouns, Verbs, or Adjectives. We analyze these constructions as having an “intermediate” status, in terms of elements lying between those that express concrete conceptual content and those that activate an abstract grammatical schema. The special nature of these and other intermediate word-level constructions in Hebrew is demonstrated experimentally in sentential contexts, and their functional, structural, and distributional properties are analyzed in the discursive context of a large corpus of authentic texts, both oral and written. Evidence from on-line processing strategies and speaker judgments combines with discourse based usage to confirm the special status of Hebrew PrepOC expressions as word-level constructions occupying neither the atomic-substantive nor the complex-schematic end of the syntax-lexicon continuum. Furthermore, we propose that these constructions analyzed here as “pragmatically/discoursally motivated”, along with other “intermediate” constructions, function as textually motivated Parts-of-Discourse rather than as semantically autonomous or structurally dependent Parts-of-Speech.
  • The semantic range of the Dutch double object construction: A collostructional perspective
    • Author: Timothy Colleman
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2009, pages: 190 –220
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    • Just like its English counterpart (cf. Goldberg 1995), the Dutch double object construction is a prime example of a highly polysemous argument structure construction, with a basic ‘X causes Y to receive Z’ sense and several extended meanings which depart from the prototype in various respects and to varying degrees. This paper provides a corpus-based overview of the semantic structure of this construction, following the multidimensional approach to constructional semantics advocated in Geeraerts (1998). On the basis of Stefanowitsch & Gries’s (2003) “collexeme analysis” method, we will identify the verbs which most typically realize the investigated construction in a one-million-word newspaper corpus. These verbs will be shown to instantiate extensions along various dimensions of semantic variation. Several of these semantic extensions are paralleled in English, while others are not.
  • Interactional frames and grammatical descriptions: The case of Japanese noun-modifying constructions
    • Author: Yoshiko Matsumoto
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 135 –157
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    • Examining usage variations in a Japanese construction, the paper argues that knowledge represented in “interactional frames” (e.g. Fillmore 1982) is an important and integral part of our understanding of the construction. The discussion focuses on variations in noun-modifying constructions (NMCs) that are considered to be non-prototypical in conversational Japanese and demonstrates that social context and the purpose of the on-going discourse are crucially involved in the actual usage of NMCs. The paper suggests the theoretical importance of including pragmatic and sociocultural perspectives in the grammatical description.
  • The conception of constructions as complex signs: Emergence of structure and reduction to usage
    • Author: Arie Verhagen
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2009, pages: 119 –152
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    • Generally, construction based approaches to grammar consider constructions to be pairings of form and meaning and thus as a kind of signs, not essentially distinct from words and other lexical items. Granting this commonality, Langacker (2005) criticizes other varieties of constructional approaches for using the notion ‘grammatical form’, and for not reducing the properties of grammar to the more fundamental and minimal notions of sound, meaning, and symbolic links between these two. While such a reduction is definitely worth pursuing, if only for reasons of general scientific interest, the abstract forms postulated in Cognitive Grammar (schematic sound patterns) are so general that they represent ‘any sound’, which threatens the very basis for the assumption that constructions are a kind of signs. I will argue that a usage-based view of sign-formation (Keller 1998), allows us to understand how the recognition of an element as belonging to a particular class of elementary signs can come to function as a signal for a specific linguistic environment (a construction), and produce a level of structure (categories of more elementary signs and relations between them) intermediate between sound and meaning that has its own (emergent) properties, which can still be reduced to more basic phenomena of processing and language use.
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