Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals

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Abstract

Corpus based examinations of the extent of modal marking (modal load) in if-conditionals in the written BNC (Gabrielatos 2007, 2010) have revealed that they have a significantly higher modal load than average, as well as a higher modal load than indirect interrogatives with if and whether, concessive conditionals with even if and whether, as well as non-conditional bi-partite constructions with when and whenever. More importantly, if-conditionals show a higher modal load than conditionals with other subordinators (assuming, in case, on condition, provided, supposing, unless). It is also noteworthy that the protases of if-conditionals have a modal load at least equal to that of the baseline – despite protases being already modally marked by if (not calculated in the modal load). The picture becomes more complicated, and more interesting, when examining the modal load of the subordinate and matrix parts of the constructions in focus – particularly those containing if as their subordinator. The explanations for the emerging modal load patterns are sought in the tenets of two recent linguistic theories: Construction Grammar and Lexical Grammar. More precisely, what is sought is whether the modal load of if-conditionals (and other constructions with if) can be explained by the collocations (and semantic preference) of the word if (Lexical Grammar), or by the nature (and composition) of individual constructions (Construction Grammar).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation - Murcia, Spain
Duration: 1 Dec 20112 Dec 2011

Conference

ConferenceInternational Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation
CountrySpain
CityMurcia
Period1/12/112/12/11

Fingerprint

Construction Grammar
Lexical Grammar
Subordinator
Interrogatives
Collocation
Nature
Semantic Preference
Corpus-based
Linguistic Theory
Tenets
Theory Construction

Keywords

  • corpus
  • theory testing
  • conditionals
  • modality
  • construction grammar
  • lexical grammar

Cite this

Gabrielatos, C. (2011). Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals. Paper presented at International Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation, Murcia, Spain.
Gabrielatos, Costas. / Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals. Paper presented at International Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation, Murcia, Spain.35 p.
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abstract = "Corpus based examinations of the extent of modal marking (modal load) in if-conditionals in the written BNC (Gabrielatos 2007, 2010) have revealed that they have a significantly higher modal load than average, as well as a higher modal load than indirect interrogatives with if and whether, concessive conditionals with even if and whether, as well as non-conditional bi-partite constructions with when and whenever. More importantly, if-conditionals show a higher modal load than conditionals with other subordinators (assuming, in case, on condition, provided, supposing, unless). It is also noteworthy that the protases of if-conditionals have a modal load at least equal to that of the baseline – despite protases being already modally marked by if (not calculated in the modal load). The picture becomes more complicated, and more interesting, when examining the modal load of the subordinate and matrix parts of the constructions in focus – particularly those containing if as their subordinator. The explanations for the emerging modal load patterns are sought in the tenets of two recent linguistic theories: Construction Grammar and Lexical Grammar. More precisely, what is sought is whether the modal load of if-conditionals (and other constructions with if) can be explained by the collocations (and semantic preference) of the word if (Lexical Grammar), or by the nature (and composition) of individual constructions (Construction Grammar).",
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Gabrielatos, C 2011, 'Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals' Paper presented at International Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation, Murcia, Spain, 1/12/11 - 2/12/11, .

Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals. / Gabrielatos, Costas.

2011. Paper presented at International Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation, Murcia, Spain.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Gabrielatos C. Construction Grammar vs. Lexical Grammar: A case study of the modal load in if-conditionals. 2011. Paper presented at International Symposium on the Sociology of Words: Lexical Meaning, Combinatorial Potential and Computational Implementation, Murcia, Spain.