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We challenge the predominant view of the English dative alternation, which takes all alternating verbs to have two meanings : a caused possession meaning realized by the double object variant and a caused motion meaning realized by the to variant. Instead, we argue that verbs like give and sell only have a caused possession meaning, while verbs like throw(More)
Whether particular arguments are overtly realized in languages like English is not random. A number of researchers have put forward sweeping generalizations in order to capture certain general tendencies. In this paper, however, it is argued that these analyses underestimate the role of constructions, detailed lexical semantics and discourse factors. Given(More)
An important question in the study of language production is the nature of the semantic information that speakers use to create syntactic structures. A common answer to this question assumes that thematic roles help to mediate the mapping from messages to syntax. However, research using structural priming has suggested that the construction of syntactic(More)
This is the first study to investigate experimentally how children come to learn mappings between novel phrasal forms and novel meanings: a central task in learning a language. Two experiments are reported. In both studies 5- to 7-year-old children watched a short set of video clips depicting objects appearing in various ways. Each scene was described using(More)
The present study exposed five-year-olds (M=5 ; 2), seven-year-olds (M=7 ; 6) and adults (M=22 ; 4) to instances of a novel phrasal construction, then used a forced choice comprehension task to evaluate their learning of the construction. The abstractness of participants' acquired representations of the novel construction was evaluated by varying the degree(More)
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English 'dative-movement' or 'ditransitive' phenomena are examined within both a non-monotonic approach to Construction Grammar (CG) influenced by Cognitive Linguistics and a monotonic CG approach. It is argued that the latter gives better empirical coverage and is theoretically simpler. Also an account of the argument/adjunct distinction is developed(More)