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The Big Mess Construction: interactions between the lexicon and constructions1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2011

School of English, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, 130-701,
Department of Linguistics, SOAS, London WC1H 0XG, United


The so-called Big Mess Construction (BMC) (e.g. so prominent a punctuation), introduced by a limited set of degree words, places an adjectival expression in the predeterminer position. In movement approaches, such idiosyncratic properties of the BMC have been attributed to the interaction of functional projections and movement operations, whereas in surface-oriented analyses focus has been placed on the supposition of special constructions and their constructional properties. In this article, we show that neither of these two previous perspectives captures the variations and flexibility of the construction in question satisfactorily. Our approach adopts the view that degree words are functors selecting their head, and attributes the peculiarities to the interactions between the lexical properties of the degree items and the constructional constraints in question.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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