English transitive particle verbs
Particle placement and idiomaticity
Adopting the Cognitive Linguistic (CL) framework, this study focuses on the particle placement phenomenon of English transitive particle verbs and its relationship with idiomaticity. Construal is argued to play a key role in determining which order a transitive particle verb should take. When a caused motion event or state change event is construed sequentially, the discontinuous order is taken to emphasize the final resultant state of the object. When the holistic construal is taken to view the same situation, the continuous order is adopted to profile the object or the interaction between the subject and the object. The holistic construal requires two conditions. First, the particle has a dynamic sense. It can designate both the process and the endpoint of motion. Second, the final state denoted by the particle is directly caused by the action denoted by the verb. In contrast, the sequential construal is allowed as long as a causal link can be established between the two participants under discussion or between the verb and the state change of one participant. In addition, the present study argues that the particle placement of idiomatic particle verbs depends on the processes in which the particle verb has developed its idiomaticity. If the idiomatic meaning develops from the inference associated with the sequential construal, the discontinuous order is preferred. On the other hand, if the idiomatic meaning is based on the holistic construal, the continuous order is then preferred. Moreover, item-by-item analyses of particle verbs that only allow one order listed in the Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs provide corpus-based support to the CL view of the relationship between construal, particle placement, and idiomaticity proposed in this study.
Keywords: particle verbs, particle placement, idiomaticity, construal, cognitive linguistics
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