Construction Grammar

Course time: 
Monday/Thursday 1:30-3:20 PM

Much like other approaches in the generative tradition, a construction grammar models linguistic knowledge as represented in the mind of an ordinary language user. Construction grammars differ from other generative grammars, however, in representing such knowledge as an inventory of symbolic constructions. Rather than dividing linguistic knowledge into grammatical rules/principles and lexical information, construction grammars instead capture grammatical generalizations using a structured inventory of linguistic expressions ranging in size from morphemes to complex words to multi-word expressions and ranging in specificity from phonologically-specified lexical entries to abstract form-meaning pairings. In this course, we will first examine the basic tenets of constructionist approaches and the types of data that initially motivated these approaches. We will then discuss several major works that have applied construction-based analyses to specific syntactic phenomena and to cross-linguistic generalizations. Finally, we will explore empirical research from child language acquisition, language processing, and historical change that supports and extends a constructionist view of language.