Words, grammar, text: revisiting the work of John Sinclair
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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The view of pattern grammar is that syntactic structures and lexical items are co-selected and that grammatical categories begin to align very closely with semantic distinctions. While this is certainly a valid position when analysing the phenomenon of collocation, it does not really solve the problem for open choice issues. Not all language use can be subsumed under the idiom principle. The noun hatred, for instance, can co-occur with any discourse object for which hatred can be expressed. It can also co-occur with other lexical items standing for various circumstantial aspects. The grammatical structure itself often does not tell us whether we find expressed the object of hatred or some circumstantial aspect, as these structures tend to have more than one reading. Lexicogrammar, or local grammar, is more than equating a syntactic structure with a semantic pattern. We have to be aware of the different functions or readings a given grammatical structure can have. The framework of valency/dependency grammar can help us to make the necessary distinctions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): grammar; meaning; pattern grammar; phraseology; valency
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