Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
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The idea of isomorphism of form and meaning has played an important role in functionalist theories of syntax and morphology. However, there have been few studies that test this hypothesis empirically on quantitative data. This study aims to fill this gap by testing the predictions made by iconicity theory with the help of statistical hypothesis-testing techniques. The paper focuses on a subtype of isomorphism, namely iconicity of cohesion. The analyses are based on a sample of lexical and analytic causatives from the British National Corpus. The study employs three different operationalisations of the degree of semantic cohesion of the causing and caused events, which are based on English and cross-linguistic data. The form-function correlation is interpreted from the point of view of three possible models of relationships between form, function and/or frequency.


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