Chapter published in:Fixed Expressions: Building language structure and social action
Edited by Ritva Laury and Tsuyoshi Ono
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 315] 2020
► pp. 71–98
Formulaicity without expressed multiword units
In this chapter, I investigate three types of formulaic structure that can be characterized as underspecified with elliptical materials and lacking the kind of expressed multiword units as typically conceived. The elliptical or source structures are shown to manifest in different unit sizes: (a) simple constituents such as modifiers/quantifiers, (b) phrasal units of various types, and (c) larger clausal units or complex turn-constructional units and the use of conjunctions. As elliptical forms of formulaic expressions are found at multiple levels of linguistic structure, this chapter raises a range of theoretical questions concerning formulaicity, including the prevailing conceptualization of formulaic language or fixed expression, proportions of prefabricated constructions in human language, mechanisms of storage and retrieval, as well as cross-linguistic properties of formulaic language.
Keywords: multiword unit, elliptical form, underspecification, fixed expression, formulaicity, semantic change, adverbials, connectives
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