Exploring syntactic categories in a construction grammar framework
Within a construction grammar framework, evidence is provided for the idea that syntactic structures are constructions. Syntactic categories such as NP and VP are posited to yield higher representations of meaning beyond the simple sum of their constituents, which fits the general description of a construction. NPs and VPs are analyzed as contributing a conceptual meaning of “grounding”, in accord with Langacker’s grounding theory. Furthermore, IP represents a grounded proposition, which is ultimately utilized by the more complex “question construction” via conceptual inheritance. Conceptual inheritance between deep and surface structure is explored for question constructions. The ultimate idea is that base-generated and “derived” syntactic categories are not related by pure structural movement. Rather, their relation stems from common conceptual representations, with additional concept representations for the derived category.
Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle
University of Victoria