Fitting a slim dime between the verb template and argument structure construction approaches

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Abstract

The present paper emphasizes the claims that are shared between the verb template approach, espoused in the target article, and the argument structure constructionist (ASC) approach, that I and others have argued for. One phenomenon that does distinguish the two approaches is the treatment of idioms; given that many argument structure expressions are semi-idiosyncratic and that VP idioms are phrasal it is argued that argument structure expressions are best treated as phrasal, where "phrasal" here means multi-word, not "phrase-structural." In addition, from a comprehension point of view, listeners must use phrasal patterns in order to recognize argument structure. The two distinct approaches to verbal representations are also compared; it is argued that the notions of profiling and syntactic underspecification used in certain constructionist representations are advantageous in accounting for verbs' distributions. By means of illustration, a new argument structure pattern is discussed (the Rely On construction) and semantic representations for several verbs of consumption (nibble, eat, dine, devour) are offered. The analyses of the Rely On construction and individual verbs make clear that detailed information needs to be included both at the level of argument structure and at the level of individual verbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-135
Number of pages23
JournalTheoretical Linguistics
Volume40
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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