Edited by Martin Hilpert, Bert Cappelle and Ilse Depraetere
[Constructional Approaches to Language 32] 2021
► pp. 53–79
The present paper investigates which sort of information – item- or feature-based – is more sufficient to quantify relative degrees of auxiliarization. To understand this issue, the study utilizes two German near-synonymous semi-schematic modal constructions with wissen and verstehen. Sketching the notion of host class expansion, the paper shows that the evidence of host class expansion by gauging type frequency of co-occurring elements is often used to demonstrate the increasing grammaticalization of a construction within usage-based construction grammar. Applying a mixed-effects binary logistic regression, the study ascertains a difference in the relative degree of grammaticalization between the wissen- and verstehen-construction by means of such usage features as (a) the position of verbal complements, (b) the grammatical form of modal auxiliaries, and (c) the animacy of subject referents. Comparing these results with the counts of the co-occurring element types of each modal construction, the analysis reveals that they contradict each other. As a result, the usage feature-based behavior is considered to be more important for deciding the relative degree of grammaticalization of semi-schematic constructions than host class expansion.