Relational Constructions in Cognitive Linguistics

Soteria Svorou

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Relational Constructions in Cognitive Linguistics

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



Some of the foundational studies of cognitive linguistics involved the semantics of adpositions. The term “adposition” has been used in linguistics to name free morphological forms that appear in languages primarily in a construction with noun phrases, either preposed (prepositions) or postposed (postpositions) to indicate case and case-like functions such as space, time, causality, or instrument. Such forms are also found to follow verbs, without a noun phrase. In terms of dependencies, relational constructions may complement the verb, thus being an argument of the verb, or they may provide additional information involving the whole event represented by a clause. Intralinguistic and cross-linguistic variation is observed in both the morphosyntax and the semantics of relational constructions. This article examines the nature of the relational construction and the cross-linguistic variation and discusses the grammaticalization of relational grams. It then looks at issues arising from synchronic accounts of relational grams, which are mostly semantic, as well as issues arising in the diachronic dimension of relational grams.

Keywords: adpositions; cognitive linguistics; semantics; relational constructions; noun phrases; prepositions; postpositions; relational grams; morphosyntax; grammaticalization

Article.  12020 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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