A constructional approach to lexicalization processes in the history of English: Evidence from possessive constructions

Graeme Trousdale
2008 Word Structure  
A constructional approach to lexicalization processes in the history of English Citation for published version: Trousdale, G 2008, 'A constructional approach to lexicalization processes in the history of English: Evidence from possessive constructions' Word Structure, vol 1, no. 2, pp. 156-177. Abstract This article is concerned with aspects of lexicalization in the history of English from the perspective of Construction Grammar (CxnG). I show how constructional approaches can account for both
more » ... n account for both grammaticalization and lexicalization within a unified framework, basing my argument around the two kinds of input to lexicalization which Brinton & Traugott (2005: 96) identify: syntactic constructions and word formation patterns. In lexicalization, linguistic forms that initially participate in an abstract schematic macro-or meso-construction, become idiosyncratic micro-constructions, whereas in grammaticalization an idiosyncratic micro-construction comes to participate in a more schematic meso-or macro-level construction. The main part of the paper is devoted to a discussion of the evolution of what Taylor (1996) has described as possessive compounds, such as driver's license, in the history of English. I specifically consider how the CxnG framework can explain the development of form-meaning mismatches, conventionalization, and the loss of internal constituency, in lexicalization. The data suggest that a constructional approach can account for the two stages of lexicalization (grammatical to lexical, less lexical to more lexical) in a way parallel to the two stages of grammaticalization (lexical to grammatical, less grammatical to more grammatical).
doi:10.3366/e1750124508000202 fatcat:opl5ascouzh7ja4s2vtlscgdiu