The syntax–lexicon continuum in Construction Grammar
A case study of English communication verbs
This paper offers an alternative analysis of Goldberg’s (1995) account of communication verbs appearing in the ditransitive construction. Based on a more finely-grained frame-semantic analysis of constructional phenomena, it is shown that generalizations over specific syntactic frames are possible at different levels of semantic abstraction. This, in turn, allows us to make across-the-board generalizations that hold not only between lexical units evoking the same frame, but also between lexical units belonging to different frames at different levels of abstraction. The resulting network of constructions combines Goldberg’s proposals regarding the status of abstract-schematic constructions with item-specific knowledge regarding the specific lexical units, with various midpoints in between. This approach has the advantage that there is no need for fusing lexical entries with abstract meaningful constructions, thereby avoiding some of the problems that arise due to the separation of syntax and the lexicon in some constructional approaches.