Edited by Lotte Sommerer and Elena Smirnova
[Constructional Approaches to Language 27] 2020
► pp. 108–140
(Re)shaping the constructional network
Modeling shifts and reorganizations in the network hierarchy
This paper takes a dynamic perspective on constructional networks by investigating which factors play a role in the architecture of the network and how its internal structure may be reorganized over time. It starts from the idea that the network hierarchy is constantly being reconfigured: new generalizations may give rise to new subschemas, and existing subschemas can move up to a higher level or, conversely, subschemas may marginalize and eventually disappear completely. Such network shifts typically involve changes in schematicity (viz. the level of abstractness) and/or productivity (viz. the extensibility of the (sub)schema). An ideal candidate to investigate these productivity shifts and internal reorganizations is the Dutch intensifying fake reflexive resultative construction. In present-day Dutch, the network of this construction displays an intriguing combination of subschemas at different levels of abstraction, displaying varying degrees of productivity, as well as conventionalized or even fossilized micro-constructions. Tracing back the recent history of this construction, the paper aims to show how mechanisms like schematization and conventionalization work together in creating the constructicon’s network structure, and how certain constructional changes can be (re)interpreted as shifts within the constructional network. It will be discussed what new insights can be gained from such a network approach and which further steps may be taken to further flesh out the theory on constructional networks.