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Constructions at Work by Adele E

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1 Constructions at Work by Adele E
Constructions at Work by Adele E. Goldberg Chapter 10: Variations on a constructionist theme ▲ comparison with a subset of mainstream generative grammar approaches, which are referred to as Syntactic Argument Structure theories (SAS) more closely related constructionist approaches

2 SAS vs. constructionist approaches
SAS constructionist approaches 1. syntax derivational non-derivational 2. emphasis rough paraphrases speaker construals 3. constructions underlying form surface form are pairings of & coarse meaning & detailed function 4. semantics no reference reference 5. determined by Universal Grammar use of languages ? 6. language-internal no yes generalization 7. Minimalist compatible not compatible provide an alternative way

3 Hale and Keyser (1997) ▲ denominal verbs (e.g. dance, shelve, laugh, sneeze) • possibly every verb has an internal argument ■ syntactic incorporation V* V NP Ni dance

4 ▲ meanings • a noun ≠ a denominal verb ■ a denominal verb has “an additional increment of meaning”   e.g. shelf & shelve • shelve means that items must be individually placed upright on something shelf-like rather than that the items are put on a shelf • “referential” component: come from the syntactic derivation • “adverbial” component: captures the notion of the action invoked from the meaning of the noun

5 ▲ problem 1: the incorporation approach of denominal verbs cannot account for their adverbial component • it is not clear what role the referential component actually plays • it seems that an adverbial component capture the referential component ■ syntactic derivation subverts the account for the adverbial component ◘ the syntactic derivation • be general across verbs • no way to reference peculiar interpretations of specific words ◘ Therefore, an adverbial component • cannot be attributed to the syntactic derivation • not supposed to be listed in the lexicon

6 ▲ problem 2 • the position from which incorporation takes place is expected to be occupied by a trace, not by an over nominal ■ the deletion of the original noun by incorporation • the referential meaning is also eliminated • the adverbial meaning is left ► However, (3) a. She shelved her books on the windowsill. b. I shelved the books on the highest shelf. ► against (3) • the original noun is deleted • a syntactic variable representing the argument is left through lexical insertion • the mysterious adverbial increment of meaning appears • a real shelf is not involved in (3a) • a real shelf is involved but is overtly specified in (3b) ◀ Goldberg: this is based on questionable empirical generalization

7 Hale and Keyser’s incorporation analysis
motivated by Baker’s (1988) the syntactic generalization: external argument cannot incorporate: only internal arguments can (4) a. A cow had a calf. internal external b. A cow calved. c. *It cowed a calf.

8 ► However, • the generalization that all deverbal nouns correspond to non-external argument is not accurate • an external argument also can be incorporated into the verb (6) a. The cook made dinner. b. He cooked dinner.

9 ▲ some denominal verbs are far more conventional than others
(9) a. A cow had a calf. A cow calved. b. A woman had a baby. *A woman babied. c. A kangaroo had a joey. *A kangaroo joeyed.

10 ▲ constructionist approaches
• emphasize speaker construals of situations • the difference in meaning between denominal verbs and their corresponding nouns could not be ignored

11 Borer (2001) • a “neo-constructionist” paradigm
a derivational, autonomous view of syntax within the Minimalist framework grammatical category information and the interpretation of argument are derived from syntactic structure open-class words such as nouns and verbs, which are referred as to “encyclopedic items” (Els), are stored in an “encycolopedia” and do not contain any reference to grammatical categories or argument structure

12 Q: how are category information and argument structure
properties in turn to be determined? A: grammatical categories arise from allowing Els to merge with grammatical features. e.g dog + past tense → dogged sink + a noun phrase (DP) → noun sink + a verbal feature → verb

13 ▲ Problem 1 ► However, Borer also does not account for lexical meaning • the noun dog and the verb dog ■ words • stored in the encyclopedia • have only a category-neutral meaning ◀ Therefore, she does not discuss where these distinctions in meaning between noun and verb come from ► Moreover, • words cannot specify a number or type of obligatory arguments e.g. dine, eat, devour

14 ▲ Problem 2 ■ all external arguments must be interpreted as agents • a multitude of counterexample (10) a. The coma victim underwent the operation experiencer b. she received a package. --- recipient ▲ Goldberg • meaning cannot be read off syntactic tree • verbs and arguments make very real contributions to the most basic of semantic interpretations • Borer’s proposal greatly reduces the role of lexicon

15 Distributed Morphology (DM) (Marantz 1997)
words are formed syntactically by combining roots with affixes roots are to be listed in an “Encyclopedia”, which involves real world meaning and not linguistics knowledge The same root is resented by √WALK category information is not associated directly with roots and its category is determined by its surrounding syntactic environment

16 ► However, unlike the accounts discussed above, Marantz,
• attempts to account for the non-compositionality found between the noun bake and the verb bake • allows roots to make reference to a meaning associated with a certain syntactic configuration within the Encyclopedia • a second suffix must be compositionally related to the corresponding word with a single affix e.g. derivation & derivational ► however, exception • an affix adds a non-compositional meaning → rare • rare → infrequency e.g. impress · ion · able is non-compositional • able is normally attached to verbs • able means “naïve” and not “able to make impression” ◀ therefore, Marantz’s Distributed Morphology cannot explain this rare case

17 ▲ Summary ■ Three approaches:
• cannot account for idiosyncratic meaning of words such as the noun shelf and verb shelve ■ Constructionist approaches: • each verb sense lexically specifies the number and semantic type of arguments it has • each argument structure constructions specifies its semantic and information-structure properties • the role of the lexicon is greatly expanded to include phrasal patterns with their own idiosyncratic syntactic or semantic properties • the interaction of the argument structure of verb and construction give rise to interpretation

18 10.2 A comparison of more closely related constructionist approaches
▲ approaches that are much close to the constructionist approach outlined in chapter 1. • UCxG: Unification Construction Grammar (Kay, Fillmore, Sag and Michaelis) → Construction Grammar (Croft: 2004) • CG: Cognitive Grammar (Langacker) • RCxG: Radical Construction Grammar (Croft) • CCxG: Cognitive Construction Grammar (Lakoff, Goldberg, and Bencini) → construction grammar (Croft: 2004)

19 ▲ UCxG (Table 10 p.215) does not uniformly adopt usage-based theory puts heavy the heavy focus on unification-base formalism does not adopt role of “motivation” emphasizes formal explicitness; maximal generalization

20 10.3 Usage-Based or Maximal Generalization Only
◆ UCxG • in line with generative framework • aims to account for generalization without redundancy • the frequencies of particular grammatical patterns are not   represented • strict division between grammar and the use of the grammar by Fillmore et al ◆ CG, CCxG, and RCxG • usage-based frameworks • aims to present grammatical knowledge in such a way that it can interface with theories of processing, acquisition, and historical change • fully regular patterns may be stored

21 10.4 Formalism: Unification or Diagramatic or Other
• for the sake of clarity and explicitness • few of generative linguistic employ any systematic formalization • the theories that have close ties to computational linguistics adopt ◆ UCxG • close ties to HPSG and the FrameNet project of Fillmore ■ HPSG: strong computational component, a unification-based formalism • adopts a unification-based formalism

22 ▲ unification in UCxG • a feature-based system, each constructions is presented by features with values (feature structures), an Attribute-Value Matrix (AVM) • any pair of AVMs can be combined to license a particular expression • when two AVMs unify, they map onto a new AVM, which has the union of attributes and values of the two original AVMs ■ the verb phrase construction (e.g. found her bracelet) (i) [cat v] combination of a set of primitive [role head] atomic units → reductionist model [lex +] (Croft 2004: 266) [role filler] [loc +]      [gf –sbj]

23 ▲ drawback to using the unification-based approach
• not sufficiently amenable to capturing detailed lexical semantic properties since real meaning is not easily captured by a fixed set of features → Fillmore (1975): need to recognize frame-based or encyclopedic knowledge • overemphasize syntactic elements insofar as the recurrent features are most relevant to the unification mechanism • cannot account for subtle differences in meaning between different constructions since the features and categories of languages are numerous

24 10.5 To Motivate or to Stipulate
◆ CCxG: seeks to provide motivation for each construction in an effort to constrain the theory and make it explanatorily adequate • motivation is distinct from prediction ■ motivation: could have been there ◘ aims to explain why this particular form-meaning correspondence “make sense” and at best natural ◘ does not mean that the construction must exist since language is contingent, not deterministic ◘ could not have had the opposite values of the properties     claimed to provide motivation ■ prediction --- what is the aim of prediction? • functional and historical generalizations in languages are not predictive but motivated by general forces since languages are phylogenetic and ontogenetic

25 ▲ The principle of Maximized Motivation (Goldberg 1995)
if construction A is related to construction B formally, then construction A is motivated to the degree that it is related to construction B semantically. Such motivation is maximized. e.g. lower-trunk-wear constructions (pants, shorts, knickers) → plural structure • motivated by the fact that the referents have bipartite structure • motivated by a plural construction since the plural construction and the lower-trunk-wear construction share the same form and have related meaning.

26 ▲ Japanese number terms: ichi (one), ni (two), …. jyu (ten)
nijyu-ichi (21) is generated by the nijyu-n construction the nijyu-n construction is motivated by the niju (20) construction and the jyu-n (10-n) construction Jyu (10) jyu-n (10 + n, 0<n<10) nijyu (20) nijyu-n (20 + n, 0<n<10)

27 ◆ UCxG & CCxG • be psychologically valid • strive to be explicit and to capture relevant generalization ◆ CCxG • psychological validity > being explicit or maximally general ◆ UCxG • being explicit or maximally general > psychological validity

28 10.6 Cognitive Grammar Langacker (2003) provides 12 tenets that CxG, RCxG, and CG all agree (11) a. Constructions are the primary objects of description b. The frameworks are non-derivational c. Lexicon and grammar form a continuum of constructions d. Constructions are form-meaning parings e. Information structure is recognized as one face of constructionist meanings

29 ◆ CG: • reductionist    • the finest-grained level of analysis is privileged • grammar is however reducible to something more fundamental • the function of a construction is believed to inhere in the form e.g. cross-linguistic differences in the conventional expression of bodily sensations → Whorfian difference

30 ◆ CCxG & RCxG • non-reductionist • there are interaction between parts that lead to emergent properties that can only be described at the level of the whole ◆ CCxG • each construction is understood as one potential option among others • the meaning of a construction is not necessarily inherent but may be in part a pragmatic inference ■ Goldberg: construction-specific properties of semantic role ◘ participant roles are specific to particular verbs

31 ◆ RCxG ■ Croft: construction-specific properties of grammatical categories and relations ◘ syntactic roles must be defined construction-specifically ◘ “subject” and “object” do not define some fixed category or syntactic structure, and they vary within and across languages

32 ◆ CG ■ Langacker ◘ essentialist definitions Subject – primary focal point Object – secondary focal point N – “thing” V – “relation” ◘ a particular, schematic conceptual factor is part of every such extension, constituting an invariant conceptual characterization of each category

33 ► CCxG & RCxG ■ not essentialist definitions • Croft: there is not consistent cross-linguistic distributional pattern • essentialist definitions for no-linguistic categories are exception • linguistic generalizations formal patterns are extended and reused for related but distinct functions • cross-linguistic generalizations recurrent archetypes across languages are based on universal functional pressures

34 10.7 Construction Grammar and Radical Construction Grammar (Croft 2001)
◆ RCxG • extends work in construction grammar by investigating in detail the cross-linguistic divergences, typology theory, the usage-based model • there are generalizations within or across languages • the generalizations are determined by functional purpose that each language’s constructions serve

35 • Croft points out from the cross-linguistic research
1. tense-mood-aspect inflection cannot be taken as criterial for determining the category of Verb cross-linguistically e.g. inflection • Makah and a native American language: verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs • Vietnamese: no words 2. no syntactic test will pick out entities that one might wish to call    verbs, nouns, adjectives, subjects, objects, and so on across all languages 3. even within a single language, a given criterion often only applies to certain constructions   e.g. passivizability as the criterion for Direct Object • its result tells some features of passivizability but it doesn’t tell some global category Direct Object

36 ▲ construction grammar: Croft (2004: chapter 10)
general syntactic constructions have corresponding rule of semantic interpretation → symbolic units (pairings of syntactic structure (elements) and semantic structure (component)) → symbolic links • the symbolic link between form and meaning is internal to a construction ↔ external in SAS (Fig & 10.3 p ) • “meaning” means conventional meaning and includes properties of the situation, the discourse, and the pragmatic situation

37 ▲ construction grammar: four questions
• has meronomic (part-whole) structure of grammatical units like SAS (Fig p.268) ► however, the nature of categories of parts diverge among theories → Q (i) What is the status of the categories of the syntactic elements in construction grammar, given the existence of constructions?

38 • internal structure of constructions
e.g. “subject” (2) p.262 • role to the whole construction (semantic relation) • relation to another element on the construction (syntactic relation) → Q (ii) What sorts of syntactic relations are posited?

39 • forms taxonomic network from more schematic representation to idiosyncratic representation, which shows different kinds of grammatical knowledge and syntax-lexicon continuum (4) [Verb Phrase] ► however, constructions may be liked by relations other than [Verb Obj] taxonomic relations → Q (iii) What sort of [kick Obj] relations are found between constructions? [kick [the habit]] (Croft 2004: 263)

40 the taxonomic hierarchy appears to represent the same information at different levels
e.g. the habit in kick the habit is the direct object at the idiom construction and at more of the schematic level [Tr Verb Obj] → Q (iv) How is information stored in the construction taxonomy?

41 (i) What is the status of the categories of the syntactic elements in construction grammar, given the existence of constructions? ▲ Construction Grammar constructions: atomic primitive grammatical relations (e.g. subject) and primitive syntactic categories (e.g. verb) → reductionist specific constructions: contain syntactic and semantic information that is not found in the units of the constructions that make up ▲ construction grammar • a participant role is defined by the situation as a whole → complex events are primitive units of semantic representation → nonreductionist • analysis of syntactic role and relation in argument structure is reductionist like Construction Grammar

42 (i) What is the status of the categories of the syntactic elements in construction grammar, given the existence of constructions? ▲ Cognitive Grammar • have an essentially semantic basis • syntactic categories (e.g. noun and subject): abstract semantic construals of the conceptual content of their denotations ► However, the construal of specific experiences as belonging to the semantic categories is language-specific e.g. English sick & Russian bol(e)- verb + an adjectival derivation suffix

43 (i) What is the status of the categories of the syntactic elements in construction grammar, given the existence of constructions? ▲ Radical Construction Grammar • nonreductionist • constructions ■ the primitive elements of syntactic representation ■ defines categories in terms of the constructions that they occur in e.g. the elements of the Intransitive construction: Intransitive Subject and Intransitive Verb • allows for prototypes and extensions of constructions

44 (ii) What sorts of syntactic relations are posited?
▲ Construction Grammar: to assemble the parts of a construction into a whole role: represents the role of the syntactic element in the whole (modifier, filler, and head) e.g. sing – head, Heather – filler in Heather sings. val: indicates the relation of the predicate to its argument by a cross reference to the set of semantics e.g. semantic feature structure for sings gives the argument A to the singer argument rel: indicates the relation of each argument to its predicate, a syntactic feature (grammatical function) and a semantic feature (thematic role) e.g. Heather is “subject” and “agent”

45 ◀ the answer to (ii) predicate-argument relation are syntactic and semantic However, predicate-argument relation are distinguished from syntactic roles held by elements in the construction as a whole e.g. The book is red and the red book red – predicate, book – argument in both be red – head, book – head

46 (ii) What sorts of syntactic relations are posited?
▲ construction grammar Lakoff (1978) • Syntactic elements (clause, noun phrase) • Lexical elements (here, there) • Syntactic conditions (liner order of elements) • Phonological conditions (vowel length) (Croft 2004: 273) allows for relations between syntactic elements as well as relations between the elements and the constructions as a whole

47 (ii) What sorts of syntactic relations are posited?
▲ Cognitive Grammar • the concept of valance is symbolic like Construction Grammar, but it is gradient unlike Construction Grammar • the argument elaborates the relevant substructure of the predicate e.g. (34) I was reading this on the rain. ■ a substructure of read elaborated by on the read → on the read is less salient than I and this ■ a substructure of on the read elaborated by read → highly salient, more of an adjunct than a complement • the roles represent a relation between the parts of constructions and the whole, and they are defined semantically and symbolically

48 (ii) What sorts of syntactic relations are posited?
▲ Radical Construction Grammar • represents the role of a part of a construction in the whole construction like Construction Grammar and Cognitive Grammar • defines relations between parts of a construction in purely semantic terms unlike Construction Grammar and Cognitive Grammar

49 (iii) What sorts of relations are found between constructions
(iii) What sorts of relations are found between constructions? (iv) How is grammatical information stored in the construction taxonomy? ▲ Construction Grammar a complete inheritance mode to avoid redundant representation – represents information once in the construction taxonomy at the highest level possible • parts of a construction can inherit feature structures from another construction (multiple inheritance) e.g. nonsubject WH-question construction (why did she leave him?) ■ left-location construction and SAI construction

50 (iii) What sorts of relations are found between constructions?
▲ construction grammar • the taxonomic links and the meronomic link (‘one construction is a proper subpart of another construction’) • the polysemy link (subtypes of a construction that inherit the syntactic construction but are different in their semantics, a metaphorical extension) e.g. ditransitive constructions (17) Suj causes Obj2 to receive Obj1. Joe gave Sally the bell. (19) Suj enables Obj2 to receive Obj1. Joe permitted Chris an apple

51 (iii) What sorts of relations are found between constructions?
▲ Cognitive Grammar prototype-extension relations a schema subsuming both prototype and extension ▲ Radical Construction Grammar a taxonomic relationship, which must be linguistically motivated e.g. Verb superordinate to IntrV and TrV inflects with the tense/agreement meronomic relation each unit of a construction is defined by its occurrence

52 (iv) How is grammatical information stored in the construction taxonomy?
▲ construction grammar normal inheritance: inheritance can be blocked if it conflicts with information in the more specific case a full entry model: the representation of information at all levels in the taxonomic hierarchy of constructions → resolve a conflict in multiple inheritance

53 How is grammatical information stored in the construction taxonomy?
▲ Cognitive Grammar • a usage-based model, therefore the establishment of schematic constructions is the result of language use ▲ Radical Construction Grammar • allows for redundant representation of grammatical information in accordance with the usage-based mode like Cognitive Grammar and construction grammar • semantic map model ■ constructions are mapped onto a conceptual space according to their function ■ constructions can be related to one another by virtue of having overlapping or neighboring functions in the conceptual space

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