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Morphosyntactic Alternations in English

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This volume brings together fourteen papers which explore the discourse-pragmatic, semantic, morphological and syntactic factors involved in English morphosyntactic alternations. The contributors to this volume deal with different types of “diathesis alternations” —broadly defined by Levin (English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation, 1993) as “alternations in the expressions of arguments, sometimes accompanied by changes of meaning” —i.e. transitivity alternations (such as the causative/inchoative alternation and the conative alternation), alternations involving arguments within the VP (such as the Swarm-alternation, and the dative or benefactive alternations), etc. The volume will also include some contributions dealing more generally with the issues of morphological relatedness and verb-specific alternations within functionalist, cognitive and/or constructionist frameworks.

The book features a wide range of theoretical approaches, ranging from functionalist models such as Functional Discourse Grammar or the Cardiff Grammar version of Systemic Functional Linguistics to more cognitively-oriented approaches such as Goldberg’s Construction Grammar or Fillmore’s Frame Semantics. This attempt to describe morphosyntactic alternations within different contemporary theories¬¬ —derivational and non-derivational— will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of the linguistic phenomena traditionally subsumed under the rubric of morphosyntactic alternation. The book will be of interest to experienced linguists and researchers of a functionalist, cognitivist or even functional-typological persuasion.

Published: Sep 1, 2011


Section Chapter Authors
About the contributors Pilar Guerrero Medina
Acknowledgements Pilar Guerrero Medina
Introduction Pilar Guerrero Medina
Part I. Theoretically-oriented approaches to the issue of morphosyntactic alternations
1. Alternations as a heuristic to verb meaning and the semantics of constructions Kristin Davidse
2. The study of alternations in a dialogic Functional Discourse Grammar J. Mackenzie
3. Constraints on syntactic alternation: Lexical-constructional subsumption in the Lexical-Constructional Model Francisco Ruiz de Mendoza, Ricardo Mairal Usón
4. Alternation and Participant Role: A contribution from a Systemic Functional Grammar Amy Neale
Part II. Studies of specific alternations
5. The causative/inchoative alternation in Functional Discourse Grammar Daniel García Velasco
6. Spontaneous and facilitative events revisited Juana Marín-Arrese
7. The semantics of English middles and pseudo-middles Casilda García de la Maza
8. An antipassive interpretation of the English “conative alternation”: Semantic and discourse-pragmatic dimensions Pilar Guerrero Medina
9. A frame-semantic approach to syntactic alternations: The case of build verbs Hans Boas
10. Acquiring particle placement in English: A corpus-based perspective Stefan Gries
11. Looks, appearances and judgements: Towards a unified constructionist analysis of predicative complement alternations in English and Spanish Francisco González-García
12. Metonymy-motivated morphosyntactic alternations Antonio Barcelona Sánchez
13. A Functional Discourse Grammar approach to the Swarm-alternation as a case of conversion Carmen Portero Muñoz
14. Morphological relatedness and zero alternation in Old English Javier Arista
Index Pilar Guerrero Medina

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'Brings together a valuable collection of often challenging papers that not only address alternation phenomena from differing theoretical perspectives, but contribute .. to our understanding of morphosyntactic alternation in general.'
Functions of Language
20:2, 2013

'I found this rich collection of papers a useful overview of some well-known alternations such as the inchoative/middle alteration from a cognitive-functional perspective.'
Cristiano Broccias, Universita di Genova, Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 11.1, 2013

'A successful work on the study of English morphosyntactic alternations, which provides new suggestive insights into this complex linguistic phenomenon. It contains, in fact, many reflections and findings that are enlightening, arousing the reader’s curiosity and opening interesting new lines of future research.’
Atlantis: Journal of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies
, 34.2