By Hans C. Boas
The papers during this quantity supply a contrastive software of development Grammar. via referencing a well-described constructional phenomenon in English, each one paper presents a pretty good origin for describing and interpreting its constructional counterpart in one other language. This procedure indicates that the semantic description (including discourse-pragmatic and useful elements) of an English building should be considered as a primary step in the direction of a "tertium comparationis" that may be hired for evaluating and contrasting the formal homes of constructional opposite numbers in different languages. hence, the which means pole of buildings will be considered as the first foundation for comparisons of structures throughout languages – the shape pole is simply secondary. This quantity exhibits that structures are attainable descriptive and analytical instruments for cross-linguistic comparisons that give the opportunity to seize either language-specific (idiosyncratic) houses in addition to cross-linguistic generalizations
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Extra info for Contrastive Studies in Construction Grammar
Comparing comparatives Table 4. 5%) Pragmatics In both English and Swedish, comparative constructions can pragmatically express increasing degrees of intensity through the reduplication of elements. In these patterns, a surplus of linguistic material iconically stands for a higher degree of some quality. Both the morphological comparative and the periphrastic variant are productively used in this way, as shown below. (20) a. They climbed higher and higher. b. De klättrade högre och högre. ’ (21) a.
If there are relatively many comparative forms, as compared to the positive forms, that means that speakers are indeed conceptualizing the adjective in question as gradable. Adjectives such as tall or long fall into this category: Forms such as longer or taller are relatively frequent in comparison to the respective base forms. By contrast, a low ratio Comparing comparatives of comparative and positive forms indicates that an adjective encodes a property that is more absolute, as in red or square.
Figure 2 contrasts English and Swedish, plotting the number of syllables of the host adjective against the relative frequency with which the morphological comparative is formed. Absolute frequencies are shown in the appendix. Expectedly, in both languages the relative frequency of morphological comparatives declines as the number of syllables increases. This tendency can receive a straightforward explanation in terms of processing. Given a choice between a synthetic construction and a semantically similar analytic construction, speakers tend to choose the analytic one in situations that are cognitively complex (Rohdenburg 1996, Mondorf 2003).