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Grain size issues in constructicon building – and how to address them

  • Novel formats of construction-based description hold great potential for phenomena that fall through the cracks in traditional kinds of linguistic reference works. On the example of German verb argument structure constructions with a prepositional object, we demonstrate that a construction-based description of such phenomena is superior to existing lexicographic and grammaticographic treatments, but that it also poses a number of new problems. The most fundamental of these relates to the fact that construction-based analyses can be proposed on different levels of abstraction. We illustrate pertinent problems relating to the precise identification of constructional form and meaning and suggest a multi-layered descriptive format for web-based electronic reference constructica that can accommodate these challenges. Semantically, the proposed solution integrates both lumping and splitting perspectives on constructional grain size and permits users to flexibly zoom in and out on individual elements in the resource. Formally, it can capture variation in the number and marking of realised arguments as found in e.g. passives and transitivity alternations. Aspects of the theoretical controversy between Construction Grammar and Valency Theory are addressed where relevant, but our focus is on questions of description and the practical implementation of construction-based analyses in a suitable type of linguistic reference work.

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Author:Arne Zeschel, Kristel Proost
Parent Title (English):Lexicographica. International annual for lexicography
Publisher:de Gruyter
Place of publication:Berlin [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2019
Date of Publication (online):2019/11/27
Tag:allostructions; conative construction; constructional ambiguity; constructional synonymy; prepositional object construction
GND Keyword:Ambiguität; Argumentstruktur; Deutsch; Konstruktionsgrammatik; Synonym; Valenz <Linguistik>; Verb
First Page:123
Last Page:169
Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.

This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Program areas:Lexik
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt