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Home arrow Language & Literature arrow Extending the Scope of Construction Grammar
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The findings of the paper suggest, following the principles set out in Booij (2010), that Construction Grammar can successfully be applied to morphology, both synchronically and diachronically. Building on a provisional proposal (Scott 2011:130), it was contended that a usage-based, constructional framework can effectively account for the continued use in modern Dutch of a small fragment of the genitive case which was “left behind” as morphological case marking was lost. This fragment of the adnominal genitive case was able to be preserved as it remained useful to language users as a means of connecting two noun phrases in a possessive or partitive relationship. Thus, it continued to be used; this exercised a repetition effect which led to its entrenchment as a construction independent of the case system. One curiosity of its preservation was that the construction’s association with nouns with a particular morphological structure was also retained through a process of discontinuous chunking, whereby the genitive marker and the derivational suffix of the head noun of the genitive noun phrase became entrenched, but not the base of the noun. As such, the word-internal morphological structure of the nouns concerned remained accessible for syntax. In present-day standard Dutch, the adnominal genitive is perpetuated through its use. Constructions contain not only information on form, but also on function, and the adnominal genitive construction contains the pragmatic restriction that it may be used fairly neutrally in formal language but that, in informal language, its use carries a mocking or ironic connotation, and attracts attention.

 
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