Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics: Volume 5
  • ISSN 1572-0268
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0276
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This paper argues for the existence of a dynamic interaction between constructional polysemy and coercion in shaping lower-level configurations of the subjective-transitive construction in English and Spanish. In particular, a fine-grained analysis is provided of those configurations featuring coercion via a reflexive pronoun in the object slot. The corpus-based analysis provided here shows that the verbs in question, regardless of their inherent lexical semantics, are construed in this construction as expressing a personal assessment by the subject/speaker about himself/herself, thus providing incontrovertible evidence for a constructionist analysis of the type invoked here. Moreover, the coercion effects examined here lend further credence to the construction-specific and also language-specific nature of constructions, especially in the light of instances of the reflexive subjective-transitive construction after saber (‘know’) in Spanish. This paper also suggests that the explanatory power of the anatomy of a given construction can be further maximized if the morphosyntactic properties of the XPCOMP are mapped onto their inherent meaning properties.


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