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Academic Paper

Title: Expressions of futurity in contemporary English: a Construction Grammar perspective
Author: Alexander Th. Bergs
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Universität Osnabrück
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Historical Linguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article describes and analyses five different ways of expressing futurity in English ('shall/will, be going to, be to', the simple present and the present progressive) in a Construction Grammar framework. It suggests that the different expressions can be captured as an onomasiologically motivated family of constructions in which the single constructions are differentiated by complex co- and contextual configurations. The latter can be elegantly captured in a Construction Grammar framework since constructions by definition can include pragmatic features. Also, this article claims that constructions may be equipped with an additional ‘context slot’, in which co- and contextual information can be stored. In a final section, this article turns to the issue of tense as a grammatical phenomenon and its genesis in grammaticalisation processes. It is suggested that a Construction Grammar account can make the age-old debate about a future tense in English redundant. Instead, it complements studies in grammaticalisation and opens up some interesting perspectives on parallel developments in the onto- and phylogenesis of constructions.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 14, Issue 2.

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