Publication details [#311]

Peña Cervel, Sandra. 2009. Constraints on subsumption in the caused-motion construction. Language Sciences 31 : 740–765. 26 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: Elsevier


This article, which is developed within the scope of the Lexical Constructional Model (LCM), approaches the English caused-motion construction by focusing on the verbs "persuade", "convince", "encourage" and "instruct". The paper begins with an introduction to the architecture of the LCM and its apparatus of so-called 'internal' and 'external' constraints on lexical-constructional fusion, which are later on applied to the analysis. The former are those that specify the conditions under which lexical templates can be integrated into argument structure constructions on the basis of lexical class ascription, lexical-constructional compatibility and predicate-variable conditioning, while cognitive phenomena like high-level metaphor and metonymy are viewed as external constraining factors. Then, Peña revisits one of Goldberg's (1995) constraints on the caused-motion construction according to which no cognitive decision can mediate between the causing event and the entailed motion. A final section is devoted to the high-level metaphors and metonymies motivating the incorporation of "persuade", "convince", "encourage" and "instruct" into the syntactic pattern under scrutiny. Among them we find the following: MEANS FOR ACTION, AN EFFECTUAL ACTION IS CAUSED MOTION, ACQUIRING A PROPERTY IS RECEIVING A MOVING OBJECT, etc. To conclude, a cognitive continuum between the resultative and caused-motion constructions is posited. At the ends of such a cline we have canonical examples like "He hammered the metal flat" for the resultative and "Frank pushed it into the box" for the caused-motion configuration. Somewhere in the middle of this continuum we find less central cases (e.g. "Someone persuaded her into love"), which resemble more or less faithfully the above-mentioned archetypes.