What is an alternation?
An important subset of the empirical research conducted within usage-based construction grammar is formed by alternation
studies. Still, it is not always clear what exactly qualifies as an alternation. This paper takes stock of six possible ways of
defining an alternation. Three of these definitions are argued to be particularly suitable for the research program of usage-based
construction grammar. The paper zooms in on those and discusses their practical consequences and (dis)advantages.
- 2.Definitions 1–3: Alternations in a decontextualized approach to language
- 3.Definition 4: The alternation as a choice point of the individual language user
- 4.Definition 5: The alternation as a methodological setup of the linguist
- 5.Definition 6: The alternation as two allostructions or otherwise linked constructions
- 6.Concluding remarks