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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: The Big Mess Construction: interactions between the lexicon and constructions
Author: Jung-Bok Kim
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Kyung Hee University
Author: Peter Sells
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Stanford University
Linguistic Field: Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The so-called Big Mess Construction (BMC) (e.g. 'so prominent a punctuation'), introduced by a limited set of degree words, places an adjectival expression in the predeterminer position. In movement approaches, such idiosyncratic properties of the BMC have been attributed to the interaction of functional projections and movement operations, whereas in surface-oriented analyses focus has been placed on the supposition of special constructions and their constructional properties. In this article, we show that neither of these two previous perspectives captures the variations and flexibility of the construction in question satisfactorily. Our approach adopts the view that degree words are functors selecting their head, and attributes the peculiarities to the interactions between the lexical properties of the degree items and the constructional constraints in question.

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This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 15, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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