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VerbsAspect and Causal Structure$
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William Croft

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248582.001.0001

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Verb meaning and argument structure constructions

Verb meaning and argument structure constructions

(p.358) 9 Verb meaning and argument structure constructions

William Croft

Oxford University Press

Chapter 9, “Verb meaning and argument structure constructions”, addresses the question of the relationship between the meaning of a verb and the meaning of the argument structure construction(s) it occurs in. Verbs never occur outside of an argument structure construction, and an argument structure construction never occurs without a verb. Moreover, a verb occurs in multiple argument structure constructions. These facts make it difficult to identify the semantic contributions of verb and construction. A verb’s meaning involves a force-dynamic potential which allows it to occur in multiple argument structure constructions; a verb occurring in a particular argument structure construction represents a specific force-dynamic construal of that event. The semantic contributions of verb and construction overlap in complex ways and may be analyzed differently across speakers and over time. Fine-grained analyses of the distribution of verbs across various constructions supports a usage-based, exemplar model of verb + construction meaning.

Keywords:   verbs, event structure, verbal semantics, argument structure constructions, construction grammar, ditransitive, locative alternation, resultative, usage-based model, exemplar model

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