Argument Structure Constructions versus Lexical Rules or Derivational Verb Templates

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38 Scopus citations


The idea that correspondences relating grammatical relations and semantics (argument structure constructions) are needed to account for simple sentence types is reviewed, clarified, updated and compared with two lexicalist alternatives. Traditional lexical rules take one verb as 'input' and create (or relate) a different verb as 'output'. More recently, invisible derivational verb templates have been proposed, which treat argument structure patterns as zero derivational affixes that combine with a root verb to yield a new verb. While the derivational template perspective can address several problems that arise for traditional lexical rules, it still faces problems in accounting for idioms, which often contain specifications that are not appropriately assigned to individual verbs or derivational affixes (regarding adjuncts, modification, and inflection). At the same time, it is clear that verbs play a central role in determining their distribution. The balance between verbs and phrasal argument structure constructions is addressed via the Principles of Semantic Coherence and Correspondence together with a usage-based hierarchy of constructions that contains entries which can include particular verbs and other lexical material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-465
Number of pages31
JournalMind and Language
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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