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Radical Construction GrammarSyntactic Theory in Typological Perspective$
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William Croft

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198299554

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198299554.001.0001

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Heads, Arguments, and Adjuncts

Heads, Arguments, and Adjuncts

(p.241) 7 Heads, Arguments, and Adjuncts
Radical Construction Grammar

William Croft (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an analysis of heads, arguments and adjuncts in terms of the symbolic relation between the syntactic unit and the semantic structure of the construction. The various syntactic tests proposed to identify syntactic heads are invalid or do not match, since they are manifestations of different phenomena. The chapter turns to semantic definitions, and revises the Cognitive Grammar definition to profile equivalence (the denotation of the head is equivalent to that of the construction as a whole). This definition does not differentiate between lexical and functional heads, but the grammaticalization and fusion of functional elements to the lexical heads implies a further condition that defines the lexical profile equivalent as the head. The argument-adjunct distinction behaves differently for form and meaning. Semantically, it is gradient, in terms of valence. Syntactically, the difference corresponds to whether the null instantiation of the unit is free (adjunct) or definite (argument).

Keywords:   syntactic tests, cognitive grammar, profile, construction, grammaticalization, null instantiation, valence

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