Publication details [#66565]

Leclercq, Benoit. 2019. Coercion. A case of saturation. Constructions and Frames 11 (2) : 269–287.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


The goal of this paper is to investigate the possibility of a cross-theoretical understanding of coercion, a “kind of contextual enrichment/ adjustment” (Lauwers & Willems 2011:?1220), by combining insights from Construction Grammar and Relevance Theory. In Construction Grammar, coercion has mostly been discussed in terms of the semantics of the linguistic items that occur in the sentence and how these interact with each other. Relevance Theory, on the other hand, does not distinguish cases of coercion from other instances of lexical adjustment, and discusses them in terms of the pragmatic principles involved during utterance interpretation. In order to highlight the complementarity of the two perspectives, this paper particularly consists in pinning down their respective explanatory limits. It will be shown that coercion is better described in terms of a linguistically required pragmatic process. Therefore, it will be suggested that coercion might actually instantiate a particular type of saturation.