LINGUIST List 13.2174

Mon Aug 26 2002

Diss: Syntax: Broccias "The English Change..."

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  1. cribroc, Syntax: Broccias "The English Change Network"

Message 1: Syntax: Broccias "The English Change Network"

Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 05:17:43 +0000
From: cribroc <>
Subject: Syntax: Broccias "The English Change Network"

New Dissertation Abstract

Institution: University of Pavia
Program: Center of Social Philosophy
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Cristiano Broccias 

Dissertation Title: 
The English Change Network

Linguistic Field: Syntax, Semantics

Subject Language: English

Dissertation Director 1: Michele Prandi
Dissertation Director 2: Maria Pavesi
Dissertation Director 3: Davide Ricca

Dissertation Abstract: 

This monograph studies the instantiations of the syntactic structure
NP V (NP) XP, where XP stands for a dynamically construable predicate,
to be called CHANGE PHRASE. Indeed, the change phrase represents the
common core of many (CHANGE) CONSTRUCTIONS that contain a non-verbal
phrase predicated of some entity (not necessarily expressed in the
syntax) which undergoes a change of either state or position. Among
the constructions amenable to a unified treatment are not only Levin's
(1993) resultative construction and van der Leek's (1996) conative
construction, but also largely ignored types such as intransitive and
transitive sublexical change constructions (e.g. 'John was weeping
into his arms'; 'He buttoned his coat to the top'), transitive
subject-oriented change constructions (e.g. 'East Timor may beat
Britain into the Eurozone'), conceptualiser-oriented change
constructions (e.g. 'Harry drove the sword to the hilt into the roof
of the serpent's mouth'), like-change constructions (e.g. 'They were
cowed into submission'), force-spatial change constructions (e.g. 'The
bullet tore into his leg'), creation constructions (e.g. 'They cut a
bench into the corner'), mildly causative structures (e.g. 'The butler
bowed the guests in'), and 'asymmetric' resultatives (e.g. 'Sally
kissed the anxiety away from Chris'). Further, this work develops an
innovative representational system for the various change
constructions based on the postulation of schemas (akin to those of
Cognitive Grammar) which account for the flexibility of compositional

Change constructions are studied according to five dimensions of
variation: causality between V and XP, selection of the change phrase,
orientation of the change phrase, transitivity, and temporal

The existence of a common core for various change constructions
implies that they define a CHANGE NETWORK (comprising what are called
the Force Change Schema, the Event Change Schema, the Event Force
Change Schema, the Alllative Schema, and the Allative/Ablative
Schema). Such a claim fits in the cognitive view of linguistic items
not as independent units but as interconnected elements within a
system. In particular, by subscribing to the theoretical underpinnings
of Cognitive Grammar, this work aims to shed light on the nature of
the change system. The change network is argued to revolve around the
dual categorisation of events in terms of either forces (as in the
Force Change Schema) or paths (as in the Event Change Schema) or both
(as in the Event Force Change Schema). Force categorisation coincides
with the activation of a very basic cognitive model, Langacker's
billiard-ball model, as a means of linguistic symbolisation. Path
categorisation by default structures those events which are not
regarded as involving a (causal) unidirectional energy flow. Both
force and path categorisation can involve the integration of two
subevents, whose richness in compositional possibilities is thoroughly
explored. Complexity, however, does not only pertain to the
multi-faceted instantiations of a given schema but also involves the
interaction between schemas. Some structures can be described
adequately only as instantiations of schemas (such as the Force Event
Change Schema and the Allative/Ablative Schema) which share features
with both the opposite poles of the imaginary schematic continuum.
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