Edited by Lotte Sommerer and Elena Smirnova
[Constructional Approaches to Language 27] 2020
► pp. 46–67
Constructionalization and the Sorites Paradox
The emergence of the into-causative
This article discusses the relationship between “constructionalization” and “constructional change” (Traugott & Trousdale, 2013). Expanding on recent critical reviews, the paper argues that the problems with constructionalization arise from the ambiguity of the concept: it refers simultaneously to processes leading to the creation of a new node and to the point of node creation itself. The issues are illustrated by tracking the emergence of the into-causative: the data show that a series of interrelated changes in multiple parts of the network provided necessary and facilitating conditions, some of which predate the into-causative by several generations. The suggestion is that constructionalization should be reserved for its point reading, while aspects of its process reading are better captured by “constructional emergence”.