1887
Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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Abstract

Abstract

This paper explores the growth of the Reaction Object Construction (ROC) as in , offering new insights into its characterisation and historical development from the perspective of Construction Grammar (Goldberg 199520062019) and its application to patterns of language change (Hilpert 2013Traugott & Trousdale 2013). It is argued that the modern ROC qualifies as a traditional form-meaning pairing and, at a deeper level, as a polysemous construction that follows the path of development of other transitivising constructions such as the construction (Israel 1996), and of processes of constructionalisation in general. Once the ROC imposes a coreferential constraint on its object argument, acquiring in this way its status as a form-meaning pairing over the Early Modern English period (1500–1700), the construction increases its productivity and schematicity; at the same time it decreases its compositionality since the link between the form/syntax and the overall meaning of the construction becomes less transparent, as in . The ROC can thus be argued to be part and result of a broader development in the grammar of English, namely the historical trend towards transitivisation.

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