Starting from a traditional corpus-based investigation of an
example of constructional attrition, i.e. of a sustained drop in the frequency
of use of a construction in a language’s history, this paper argues that usage
data which make abstraction from individual speakers can no more account for
this kind of constructional change than they can for constructionalization, the
creation of new constructions. A more ‘radically’ usage-based approach to
diachronic construction grammar implements the cognitive commitment of this
subdiscipline of cognitive linguistics and ultimately explains all
constructional change with reference to individual speakers’ grammars. Since no
two speakers’ experience-based constructicons are identical, it is hypothesized
that, very similar to constructionalization, constructional attrition starts
from interpersonal variation and the paper encourages the use of idiolectal
historical corpora to find corroboration for this. The case of constructional
attrition presented in descriptive detail is that of the English Deontic
nci construction, which is instantiated by such forms as be
compelled to, be forbidden to, be obliged to and be
permitted to. Previous research established this schema to have
grown in frequency and productivity from the 14th until the 18th century and the
current paper documents the start of its subsequent decline with data from the
Corpus of Late Modern English Texts. It goes on to ask whether a usage-based
approach should stop at offering cultural explanations for such developments and
proposes a more genuinely cognitive line of explanatory attack.
(2013) Constructional change in English: Developments in allomorphy, word
formation, and syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(2017) Frequencies in diachronic corpora and knowledge of
language. In M. Hundt, S. Mollin & S. E. Pfenninger (Eds.), The changing English language: Psycholinguistic perspectives (pp. 49–68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
(2002) The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hundt, M., Mollin, S., & Pfenninger, S. E.
(Eds.) (2017) The changing English language: Psycholinguistic perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Langacker, R. W.
(1987) Foundations of cognitive grammar, vol. 1: Theoretical
prerequisites. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. W.
(1999) Assessing the cognitive linguistic enterprise. In T. Janssen & G. Redeker (Eds.), Cognitive linguistics: Foundations, scope, and methodology (pp. 13–59). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
(2013) Where have all the modals gone? An essay on the declining
frequency of core modal auxiliaries in recent standard
English. In J. I. Marín-Arrese, M. Carretero Lapeyre, J. Arús Hita & J. van der Auwera (Eds.), English modality: Core, periphery and evidentiality (pp. 95–115). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Leech, G., Hundt, M., Mair, C. & Smith, N.
(2009) Change in contemporary English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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(1995) Change and continuity in the functions of the American English
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(1996) The development of the strong obligation system in American
English. American Speech, 71 (4), 339–388.
(2008) The nominative and infinitive in Late Modern English: A diachronic
constructionist approach. Journal of English Linguistics, 36 (4), 314–340.
(2013) Grammaticalization in diachronic construction
grammar. In M. A. Furtado da Cunha, E. Balduíno Bispo & J. Romerito Silva (Eds.), Anais do IV Seminário Internacional do Grupo de Estudos Discurso &
Gramática e XVII Seminário Nacional do Grupo de Estudos Discurso &
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Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J.
(1985) A comprehensive grammar of the English language. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
(2015) A blueprint of the Entrenchment-and-Conventionalization
Model. Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, 31, 1–27.
Schmid, H.-J., & Mantlik, A.
(2015) Entrenchment in historical corpora? Reconstructing dead authors’
minds from their usage profiles. Anglia, 133(4), 583–623.
(2003) Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language
acquisition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Traugott, E. Closs
(2008) Grammaticalization, constructions and the incremental development
of language: Suggestions from the development of degree modifiers in
English. In R. Eckardt, G. Jäger & T. Veenstra (Eds.), Variation, selection, development: Probing the evolutionary model of
language change (pp. 219–250). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Traugott, E. Closs, & Trousdale, G.
(2013) Constructionalization and constructional changes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Goethem, K., Norde, M., Coussé, E., & Vanderbauwhede, G.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 22 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
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