Class meeting, Wednesday, January 17

As was stated in the course description distributed last year in the department, this course will build on the in-progress text that we worked on in the fall semester. The course will begin by updating the principles of the fall version of the textbook, and then will proceed with topics that will make up later chapters in the book. Students' obligations will be to contribute to the discussion of the advanced topics as we go through them, and to write a research paper on any of the topics ot this semester, touching on English or other languages. The paper will be due on the day of the last class meeting. The general outline of the construction grammar book as we now see it is as follows: (Asterisks precede the names of topics that will be given special treatment in class by the instructors.)

1. Preliminaries (as before, but with preview of types of constructions)

2. Structures, constructions, constructs, feature structures, unification (more or less as the second chapter before; maybe the chapter title won't be so cumbersome)

3. Simple nominal constructions (omitting - i.e., postponing until later - the modified nominal construction which required so much ingenuity)

4. Constituent types (survey of types of syntactic constructions; contrast between internal and external structure)

5. *Idiomaticity (types of idioms; point: tease out what is general; first examples of pre-emption)

6. Valence (idiomaticity vs. generality explained in terms of minimal valence; ties with semantics; restricted gfs, theta-roles)

7.* PVP and SP (direct instantiation), but with PVP streamlined by capturing certain generalizations and separating them out as separate constructions; emphasize ties with frame semantics; include null instantiation here; the feature ~locality")

8. *Argument structure constructions (combining the familiar linking constructions with the modifications and additions influenced by Adele Goldberg's work)

9. *Adjuncts (distinguishing frame-elaborating valence augmentation from "setting" and "manner" adjuncts; constructions that refer to adjuncts; "do so" phenomena)

10. *Modification (connected with adjunct discussion; parallelism between noun modification ["good worker"] and verb modification ["works well"]; relative clause modification has to be postponed until later, since it requires too many new principles)

11. Co-instantiation (perhaps it might be possible to introduce the contrast between coinstantiation proper and "tough" phenomena)

12. *Auxiliaries and the Copula (including the special tests for auxiliary-hood, arguments for the "embedding verb" treatment, questions about the need for distinguishing semantic and syntactic heads)

13. *Predication ("BE" complements and secondarypredicates)

14. Inversion and its "Heirs"

15. *Polarity (emphasizing the problems of the semantics of negation; including NPIs, neg incorporation, etc., plus the little-studied phenomenon of positive polarity items)

16. *Constructional Morphology (auxiliaries, negation and tense give us the wildest varieties of morphological processes in English, with lots of "pre- emption"; nominal inflections will be included)

17. *Extraposition

18. *Digression: Valence Command

19. *Left Isolation (including WH-constructions, relative clauses, topic, etc.)

20. *Tough (with perhaps a history of its treatment in various models)

21. *Anaphora (identity of reference anaphora, identity of sense anaphora)

22. *Coordination (including "right node raising", "gapping")

23. *Subordination (including conditionals; linked with adjuncts)

24. *Idiomaticity again ("the little words", complex syntactic idioms)

25. *Questions of Universals and Typology


Next Monday's lecture will be CJF on idiomaticy; Wednesdays's lecture will be PK on the new streamlined PVP; on the weekend K and F will present a workshop on the newest newest treatment of the Goldberg constructions.

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