1. Alternations as a heuristic to verb meaning and the semantics of constructions
Morphosyntactic Alternations in English - Functional and Cognitive Perspectives - Pilar Guerrero Medina
Kristin Davidse [+]
Catholic University of Leuven
In the first chapter in the volume, Kristin Davidse takes issue with Goldberg’s position in her 2002 article, where she advocated that the “robust generalizations” in the domain of argument-structure relations are “surface generalizations” (2002: 333). In contrast to Goldberg, Davidse emphasizes the heuristic potential of verb-specific alternations and defends the position that they are relevant both to verb meaning and the semantics of constructions. The descriptive heuristics that can be derived from Davidse’s argument, set in the structural-functional tradition of Gleason and Halliday, is illustrated with two alternation-based case studies of the subclassification of ditransitive verbs and of the semantic elucidation of ergative intransitives.