Florent Perek (publiziert)

Verbs, Constructions, Alternations: Usage-based perspectives on argument realization

ErstbetreuerPD Dr. Martin Hilpert
ZweitbetreuerProf. Dr. Maarten Lemmens (co-tutelle)

The general goal of my thesis was to investigate to what extent the grammar of verbs, also called argument realization, can be based on linguistic usage. The usage-based approach is a recent paradigm shift in linguistics which takes the view that grammar is a dynamic inventory of symbolic conventions that emerges through, and is likewise shaped by, actual language use. Adopting a constructional approach to argument structure and on the basis of English data, I address the question of the usage basis of argument realization at three levels of organization.
At the level of verbs, I compare experimental results to usage data, and find that more frequent valency patterns of a verb are processed more easily. These findings provide evidence for the usage basis of valency. At the level of constructions, I show that, in the case of the conative construction, it is possible to formulate constructional generalizations on the basis of verbal meaning at the level of semantically defined verb classes, but not so easily at the most abstract level. I take this as further evidence of the importance of lower-level schemas over broad generalizations. At the level of alternations, I present usage-based evidence that productivity can be based on alternation relations. I report that the dative alternation displays a productivity asymmetry, and I show that these differences can be explained by corresponding asymmetries in type frequencies.

DisziplinEnglish Studies
Schlüsselbegriffeargument structure, construction grammar, argument realization, usage-based