Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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This study analyzes the manual action verb as part of the [ – NP] construction in two Chinese corpora. Drawing on constructionist perspectives on language productivity (Goldberg 2006Gries 2012), I show that [ – NP] is a productive construction the multiple meanings of which are conceptually motivated by manual action. The type-token distributions show the productivity of the [ – NP] schema, and the semantic clusters in a network of meanings show a gradation of manual action experiences with no clear-cut conceptual boundaries. Usage productivity goes hand in hand with semantic extension, which gives rise to the emergence of the light verb . Contra previous morpheme-based studies that view as a polysemy in its own right, isolated from its network of collocates, I argue that polysemy is a consequence and an epiphenomenon of constructional productivity resulting from language use and exemplar propagation.


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