The groundedness of syntax

John M. Anderson

in The Substance of Language Volume I

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608317
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732034 | DOI:
The groundedness of syntax

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This chapter argues, contrary to the trend described in Chapter 1, that reference to meaning by syntactic generalizations is normal, and that the conventionalization illustrated by mismatches between semantics and syntax is a natural consequence of usage. Complementary to this, the capacity to extend syntactic constructions figuratively to areas that are perceived as semantically similar illustrates the relevance of the notional basis for syntax. Some detailed examples of notionally and functionally based syntactic generalizations are presented, including evidence against the assumption of an arbitrary relation between a construction and its meanings. The prediction of the X‐bar framework that categories like verb and noun will project similar phrase types is shown to be false. And this falseness can be predicted from the different notional character of these two categories that arises from their groundedness.

Keywords: groundedness; conventionality; figurativeness; construction; X-bar syntax

Chapter.  14215 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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