Chapter published in:Conceptual Metonymy: Methodological, theoretical, and descriptive issues
Edited by Olga Blanco-Carrión, Antonio Barcelona and Rossella Pannain
[Human Cognitive Processing 60] 2018
► pp. 185–204
How metonymy motivates constructions
The case of monoclausal if-only P constructions in English
This chapter shows how constructional metonymy, whereby a part Y of a grammatical construction X is used to access the whole construction X, leads to the emergence of new grammatical constructions. Such metonymically motivated constructions are called dependent constructions, as opposed to the autonomous constructions they originally targeted. The construction I consider in detail is the monoclausal if-only P construction. I attempt to demonstrate that, contrary to Dancygier and Sweetser’s (2005), there is no single if-only P construction but, rather, a network of at least four if-only P constructions, which differ in their time reference, epistemic stance and illocutionary force. My proposal shows that the emergence of such dependent constructions is usually motivated by the familiar part-for-whole metonymy.
Keywords: conditional sentence, construction, constructional metonymy, epistemic stance, if-only construction, illocutionary force
Published online: 17 May 2018
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