Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Construction Grammar as Cognitive Structuralism: the interaction of constructional networks and processing in the diachronic evolution of English comparative correlatives

  • THOMAS HOFFMANN (a1)
Abstract

Following the Uniformitarian Principle, the Performance–Grammar Correspondence Hypothesis (PGCH; Hawkins 2004) predicts a directionality in language change: if the same content can be expressed by two competing structures and one of these is easier to process (see Hawkins 1999, 2004), then the simpler structure will be preferred in performance. Consequently, it will be used more often with a greater range of different lexical items, which increases its type frequency and ultimately leads to it being more cognitively entrenched than its alternative (see Hawkins 2004: 6). As an analysis of the diachronic evolution of the family of English comparative correlative constructions (the more iconic cause–before–effect C1C2 construction the more you eat, the fatter you get vs the less iconic effect–before–cause C2C1 construction you get the fatter, the more you eat) shows, however, the PGCH only played a secondary role in the genesis of this set of constructions. In this article, I will present a usage-based constructionist approach that allows researchers to reinterpret the classical Structuralist notion of gaps in the system as gaps in the mental constructional network. This type of Cognitive Structuralist analysis accounts for the presence of the less iconic C2C1 structure (and the absence of the more iconic C1C2 structure) in OE, the genesis of C1C2 structures at the end of the OE period as well as the processing effects predicted by the PGCH once both the C1C2 and the C2C1 constructions were in competition during the ME period.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Allen, Cynthia L. 1977. Topics in diachronic English syntax. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts.
Allen, Cynthia L. 1980. Topics in diachronic English syntax. New York: Garland.
Babington, Churchill (ed.). 1860. The repressor of over much blaming of the clergy by Reginald Pecock, D.D., sometime Lord Bishop of Chichester, vol 1. London: Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/ahb1325.0001.001/1:AHB1325.0001.001?view=toc;q1=the+more (accessed 13 April 2014).
Barðdal, Johanna. 2008. Productivity: Evidence from case and argument structure in Icelandic. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Barlow, Michael & Kemmer, Suzanne (eds.). 2000. Usage-based models of language. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Bates, Elizabeth & MacWhinney, Brian. 1989. Functionalism and the competition model. In Bates, Elizabeth & MacWhinney, Brian (eds.), The crosslinguistic study of sentence processing, 373. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Beck, Sigrid. 1997. On the semantics of comparative conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 20 (3), 229−71.
Bencini, Gulia M. L. 2013. Psycholinguistics. In Hoffmann, & Trousdale, (eds.), 379–98.
Berg, Thomas. 2014. Competition as a unifying concept for the study of language. The Mental Lexicon 9, 338–70.
Bergs, Alexander. 2017. Diachronic approaches. In Dancygier, Barbara (ed.), Cambridge handbook of cognitive linguistics, 361–76. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bergs, Alexander & Diewald, Gabriele (eds.). 2008. Constructions and language change. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Bresnan, Joan & Ford, Marilyn. 2010. Predicting syntax: Processing dative constructions in American and Australian varieties of English. Language 86, 186213.
Brown, Keith (ed.). 2006. Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, 2nd edn. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Bybee, Joan. 2013. Usage-based theory and exemplar representations of constructions. In Hoffmann, & Trousdale, (eds.), 4969.
CMEPV: Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/ (accessed 30 March 2017).
Cappelle, Bert. 2011. The the. . .the. . . construction: Meaning and readings. Journal of Pragmatics 43 (1), 99117.
Christophersen, Paul. 1939. The articles: A study of their theory and use in English. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
Collins, Allan M. & Loftus, Elizabeth F.. 1975. A spreading-activation theory of semantic processing. Psychological Review 82, 407–28.
Croft, William 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Croft, William & Cruse, Alan D.. 2004. Cognitive linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Culicover, Peter W. & Jackendoff, Ray. 1999. The view from the periphery: The English comparative correlative. Linguistic Inquiry 30, 543–71.
De Smet, Hendrik. 2009. Analysing reanalysis. Lingua 119, 1728–55.
Den Dikken, Marcel. 2005. Comparative correlatives comparatively. Linguistic Inquiry 36, 497532.
Evans, Vyvyan & Green, Melanie. 2006. Cognitive linguistics: An introduction. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Field, John. 2004. Psycholinguistics: The key concepts. London and New York: Routledge.
Fillmore, Charles J. 1988. The mechanisms of ‘Construction Grammar’. In Axmaker, Shelly, Jaisser, Annie & Singmaster, Helen (eds.), Proceedings of the fourteenth annual meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, 35–55. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
Fischer, Olga 1992. Syntax. In Blake, Norman (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. II: 1066–1476, 207408. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fried, Miriam. 2008. Constructions and constructs: Mapping a shift between predication and attribution. In Bergs, & Diewald, (eds.), 4779.
Fried, Miriam. 2013. Principles of constructional change. In Hoffmann, & Trousdale, (eds.), 419–37.
Gisborne, Nikolas & Patten, Amanda. 2011. Construction grammar and grammaticalization. In Narrog, Heiko & Heine, Bernd (eds.), The Oxford handbook of grammaticalization, 92104. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Givón, Talmy. 1985. Iconicity, isomorphism and non-arbitrary coding in syntax. In Haiman, John (ed.), Iconicity in syntax, 187219. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Goldberg, Adele E. 1995. Constructions: A Construction Grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goldberg, Adele E. 2003. Constructions: A new theoretical approach to language. TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences 7, 219–24.
Goldberg, Adele E. 2006. Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Görlach, Manfred. 1994. Einführung in die englische Sprachgeschichte, 3rd edn. Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer.
Haiman, John. 1994. Iconicity. In Asher, R. E. (ed.), The encyclopedia of language and linguistics, 1629–33. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Haspelmath, Martin. 1998. Does grammaticalization need reanalysis? Studies in Language 22, 315–51.
Hasson, Uri & Small, Steven L.. 2008. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) research of language. In Stemmer, Brigitte & Whitaker, Harry A. (eds.), Handbook of the neuroscience of language, 81–9. London: Elsevier.
Hawkins, John A. 1999. Processing complexity and filler–gap dependencies across grammars. Language 75, 245–85.
Hawkins, John A. 2004. Efficiency and complexity in grammars. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hilpert, Martin. 2013. Constructional change in English: Developments in allomorphy, word formation, and syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hoffmann, Thomas. 2011. Preposition placement in English: A usage-based approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hoffmann, Thomas. 2014. Comparing English comparative correlatives. Postdoctoral thesis, Osnabrück University.
Hoffmann, Thomas & Trousdale, Graeme. 2011. Variation, change and constructions in English: Introduction. Cognitive Linguistics 22 (1), 123.
Hoffmann, Thomas & Trousdale, Graeme (eds.). 2013. The Oxford handbook of Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hudson, Richard. 2010. An introduction to Word Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jespersen, Otto. 1933. Essentials of English grammar. London: George Allen & Unwin.
Jespersen, Otto. 1961. A modern English grammar on historical principles. 7 vols. London: George Allen and Unwin; Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
Kemmler, Fritz & Rieker, Iryna. 2012. Medieval English: Literature and language, 5th edn. Tübingen: Narr.
Lass, Roger. 1997. Historical linguistics and language change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lehmann, Christian. 1992. Word order change by grammaticalization. In Gerritsen, Marinel & Stein, Dieter (eds.), Internal and external factors in syntactic change, 395416. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Lehmann, Christian. 2004. Theory and method in grammaticalization. Zeitschrift für Germanistische Linguistik 32, 152–87.
Marslen-Wilson, William. 2006. Morphology and language processing. In Brown (ed.), 175–84.
Martinet, André. 1952. Function, structure and sound change. Word 8, 132.
Martinet, André. 1955. Economie des changements phonétiques. Bern: A. Francke.
Mattys, Sven. 2006. Speech recognition: Psychological approaches. In Brown, (ed.), 819–28.
McMahon, April M. S. 1994. Understanding language change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Meillet, Antoine. 1912. Linguistique historique et linguistique générale. Paris: Champion.
Michaelis, Laura A. 1994. A case of constructional polysemy in Latin. Studies in Language 18, 4570.
Mitchell, Bruce. 1985. Old English syntax, vol. 2: Subordination, independent elements and element order. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pijpops, Dirk & Velde, Freek Van de. 2014. Constructional contamination effects: Evidence from mixed-effects logistic regression modeling of the Dutch partitive genitive. Talk given at the SLE 47 Workshop ‘From methodology back to theory: How do current empirical methods feed back into linguistic theory?’ University of Poznan, 12 September.
Rumelhart, David E., McClelland, James L. & the PDP research group. 1986. Parallel distributed processing: Explorations in the microstructure of cognition. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Sag, Ivan A. 2010. English filler–gap constructions. Language 86 (3), 486545.
Saussure, Ferdinand de. 2006 [1916]. Course in general linguistics, ed. Bally, Charles & Sechehaye, Albert, trans. Harris, Roy. La Salle, IL: Open Court.
Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt. 2010. The English genitive alternation in a cognitive sociolinguistics perspective. In Geeraerts, Dirk, Kristiansen, Gitte & Peirsman, Yves (eds.), Advances in cognitive sociolinguistics, 141–66. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Tomasello, Michael. 2003. Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 1992. Syntax. In Hogg, Richard M. (ed.), The Cambridge history of the English language, vol. I: The beginnings to 1066, 168289. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 2007. The concepts of constructional mismatch and type-shifting from the perspective of grammaticalization. Cognitive Linguistics 18 (4), 523–57.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Trousdale, Graeme. 2013. Constructionalization and constructional changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Trousdale, Graeme. 2008a. Grammaticalization, constructions and the grammaticalization of constructions. Paper presented at New Reflections on Grammaticalization 4, KU Leuven, 16–19 July.
Trousdale, Graeme. 2008b. Constructions in grammaticalization and lexicalization: Evidence from the history of a composite predicate construction in English. In Trousdale, Graeme & Gisborne, Nikolas (eds.), Constructional approaches to English grammar, 3367. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Trousdale, Graeme. 2012. Grammaticalization, constructions and the grammaticalization of constructions. In Davidse, Kristin, Breban, Tine, Brems, Lieselotte & Mortelmans, Tanja (eds.), Grammaticalization and language change: New reflections, 167–98. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Van de Velde, Freek, De Smet, Hendrik & Ghesquière, Lobke. 2013. On multiple source constructions in language change. Studies in Language 37, 473–89.
Winters, Margaret E. 2010. Introduction: On the emergence of diachronic cognitive linguistics. In Winters, Margaret E., Tissari, Helen & Allan, Kathryn (eds.), Historical cognitive linguistics, 327. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

English Language & Linguistics
  • ISSN: 1360-6743
  • EISSN: 1469-4379
  • URL: /core/journals/english-language-and-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed