Michel Achard

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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The term “complement” has a very general interpretation in cognitive linguistics. For example, in Ron Langacker's cognitive grammar, a complement structure corresponds to and elaborates a salient subpart of the relation evoked by the head. This article deals exclusively with clausal complements and presents examples that provide the reader with a basic understanding of the issues raised by cognitive linguists about complementation, as well as the methods they have designed to answer them. First, it introduces the crucial concept of “conceptual subordination” before discussing some of the semantic contrasts that complement constructions code in English, Japanese, and French. It also considers the cognitive grammar account of raising constructions in order to show that a semantically based framework can provide a satisfactory account of phenomena traditionally regarded as purely syntactic. Finally, the article describes raising constructions as an example to show that cognitive grammar can provide a satisfactory account of phenomena usually regarded as strictly structural.

Keywords: complementation; cognitive linguistics; clausal complements; conceptual subordination; constructions; cognitive grammar; raising constructions

Article.  9010 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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