Article published in:Converging Evidence: Methodological and theoretical issues for linguistic research
Edited by Doris Schönefeld
[Human Cognitive Processing 33] 2011
► pp. 57–80
Perception and conception
The ‘see x to be y’ construction from a cognitive perspective
This chapter revisits a construction discussed by Bolinger (1974), investigating whether his intuitive interpretation of it holds in the light of robust corpus data. Bolinger’s interpretation has been disputed, notably by Noël (2003), on the basis of what he takes to be diverging evidence from the British National Corpus. A careful examination of all instances of the ‘see x to be y’ construction in three large corpora provides converging evidence showing that Bolinger was basically correct when he stated that when followed by a to-infinitive complement, perceptual verbs are being used in a conceptual sense. This interpretation of the see construction with the to-infinitive complement is related to a more general schematic interpretation of the meaning of the to-infinitive form.
Published online: 30 November 2011