Psycholinguistic studies on the syntactic behavior of idioms.

  title={Psycholinguistic studies on the syntactic behavior of idioms.},
  author={Raymond W. Gibbs and Nandini P. Nayak},
  journal={Cognitive psychology},
  volume={21 1},
Six experiments examined why some idioms can be syntactically changed and still retain their figurative meanings (e.g., John laid down the law can be passivized as The law was laid down by John), while other idioms cannot be syntactically altered without losing their figurative meanings (e.g., John kicked the bucket cannot be passivized into The bucket was kicked by John). Our thesis was that the syntactic behavior of idioms is determined, to a large extent, but speakers' assumptions about the… CONTINUE READING

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