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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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  • Construction Grammar as a tool for diachronic analysis
    • Author: Mirjam Fried
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2009, pages: 261 –290
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    • Through a discourse-grounded internal reconstruction that aims at capturing the emergence of grammatical structure, the study examines the development of the subjective epistemic particle jestli ‘[in-my-opinion-] maybe’ in conversational Czech. Through internal reconstruction, the change (syntactic complementizer > speaker-centered epistemic contextualizer > subjective epistemic particle) is presented as a metonymy-based conventionalization of a pragmatic meaning implied by certain tokens of indirect Y/N questions into a new modal meaning. Taking a Construction Grammar approach, so far largely untested on diachronic data, the point of the analysis is to show that we can engage in a systematic treatment of the gradualness of change, by (i) combining the ‘holistic’ (constructional) dimension with the internal, feature-based and discourse-motivated mechanisms of complex grammatical shifts, and (ii) appealing to the explanatory potential of general cognitive and communicative principles as they manifest themselves in natural discourse. I also propose a formalism for representing the transitional nature of intermediate patterns.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A constructional account of genre-based argument omissions
    • Authors: Josef Ruppenhofer, and Laura A. Michaelis
    • Source: Constructions and Frames, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 158 –184
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    • Authors like Fillmore 1986 and Goldberg 2006 have made a strong case for regarding argument omission in English as a lexical and construction-based affordance rather than one based on general semantico-pragmatic constraints. They do not, however, address the question of how grammatical restrictions on null complementation might interact with broader narrative conventions, in particular those of genre. In this paper, we attempt to remedy this oversight by presenting a comprehensive overview of genre-based argument omissions and offering a construction-based analysis of genre-based omission conventions. We consider five genre-based omission types: instructional imperatives (Culy 1996, Bender 1999), labelese, diary style (Haegeman 1990), match reports (Ruppenhofer 2004) and quotative clauses. We show that these omission types share important traits; all, for example, have anaphoric rather than indefinite construals. We also show, however, that the omission types differ from each other in idiosyncratic ways. We then address several interrelated representational problems posed by the grammatical treatment of genre-based omissions. For example, the constructions that represent genre-based omission conventions must interact with the lexical entries of verbs, many of which do not generally permit omitted arguments. Accordingly, we offer constructional analyses of genre-based omissions that allow constructions to override lexical valence constraints.
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