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Discussion Details

Title: Bloomfield:'Construction', 'Constructional Meaning
Submitter: Debra Ziegeler
Description: While looking up the Bloomfield quotation that Keith Allan mentioned in his
recent posting (see http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-3527.html), I
observed in another article by Bloomfield (1926) 'A set of postulates for
the science of language' that did appear in the journal Language
(2.153-164: 26-31), that he states the following:

''Assumption 8: Different non-minimum forms may be alike or partly alike as
to the order of the constituent forms and as to the stimulus-reaction
features corresponding to this order. The order may be successive,
simultaneous (stress and pitch with other phonemes), substitutive (French
AU for A LE), and so on.

''Such recurrent sames of order are called constructions; the corresponding
stimulus-reaction features are constructional meanings.''

He goes on to discuss morphological constructions (e.g. plural formatives
such as BOOK-S, with the meaning 'object in number') and syntactic
constructions as the construction of ''free forms'' (e.g. THE MAN IS
BEATING THE DOG with the meaning 'actor acting on goal').

It would be interesting to know how others view this early mention of the
terms 'construction' and 'constructional meaning' with reference to the
same terms familiar in today's usage.

Debra Ziegeler
Date Posted: 20-Dec-2005
Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics
LL Issue: 16.3639
Posted: 20-Dec-2005

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