Friday 7 July 2023
Thomas Herbst (Friedrich-Alexander Universität)
Saturday 8 July 2023
Gaëtanelle Gilquin (Université catholique de Louvain)
Construction grammar and lexico-grammar, and why they matter to each other
In construction grammar (CxG), no distinction is made between linguistic phenomena traditionally described as lexical (e.g. idioms) and linguistic phenomena traditionally described as grammatical (e.g. phrasal patterns). They are all considered instances of constructions, in the sense of form-meaning pairings. This makes CxG an intrinsically suitable framework for the study of lexico-grammar. If we combine CxG with corpus linguistics, which is known for its close links with lexico-grammar, we are bound to be well-equipped to deal with lexico-grammatical features.
This presentation will show how the study of constructions such as causative and passive constructions in English can benefit from a CxG- and corpus-based approach which takes lexico-grammatical aspects into account. This starts with the extraction of the constructions, thanks to strategies which make it possible to retrieve more peripheral instances of a construction (e.g. pseudo-passives with an adjectival form like BE interested). This continues with the analysis, by means of techniques that seek to uncover the phraseological patterns of constructions, in particular collostructional analysis. This technique helps provide better descriptions of the constructions, including in an L1-L2 comparative perspective (showing, for example, that native writers prefer verbs such as seem or appear in the [X make Y Vinf] causative construction, whereas EFL learners prefer be and become). Finally, a CxG- and corpus-based approach centred around lexico-grammar can lead to pedagogical materials or methods that favour the production of more idiomatic constructions. Data-driven learning, for example, could be used in the classroom to help students notice the lexico-grammatical features of constructions. These different steps, from data extraction to pedagogical applications, will illustrate the main advantages of corpus approaches to lexico-grammar anchored in CxG.