Constructional change, paradigmatic structure and the orientation of usage processes

Bidragets oversatte titel: Konstruktioners forandring, paradigmatisk struktur og ususprocessers retning

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    This article presents a model analysis of the interplay between structure and usage in the semantic change of constructions, with a focus on the role of content structure in the sense of paradigmatically organised semantic structure. The case at hand the development of the Danish indirect object construction from the 18th century to the present, a specialisation process parallel to the one described for English by Colleman & De Clerck (2011), though not identical to it. The semantics of constructions is described in terms of linguistic content, as distinct from conceptual structure, and the linguistic content of constructions is organised to a great extent in paradigmatic oppositions, similar to those found in classical morphology (Nørgård-Sørensen, Heltoft & Schøsler 2011). This organisation principle implies that the semantic description must uncover the boundaries of the construction’s content, a strategy different from a description in terms of prototypicality, but compatible with it.
    The identification of changes in the paradigmatic organisation of constructions is a precondition for identifying and interpreting the changes we observe in usage. In a concluding example, the reanalyses of the verbs bebrejde ‘reproach’ and gifte sig ‘marry’ are compared, and two kinds of usage processes (actualisation processes) are identified: (1) actualisation processes that are a consequence of structural change in the sense of reanalysis, and (2) processes of redistribution which, in the present case, move verb stems from one already existing construction type to another. Thus, structural descriptions allow us to orient and interpret usage processes.
    TitelUsage-Based Approaches to Language Change
    RedaktørerEvie Coussé, Ferdinand von Mengden
    Antal sider39
    ForlagJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Publikationsdatojul. 2014
    ISBN (Trykt)9789027215796
    StatusUdgivet - jul. 2014

    Citer dette

    Heltoft, L. (2014). Constructional change, paradigmatic structure and the orientation of usage processes. I E. Coussé, & F. von Mengden (red.), Usage-Based Approaches to Language Change (s. 202-241). John Benjamins Publishing Company.