A Principled Cognitive Linguistics Account of English Phrasal Verbs
There have long been attempts to discover some systematicity in the semantics of English phrasal verbs. However, previous research has focused exclusively on the contribution of the multiple meanings of the prepositions in phrasal verbs and assumed a single meaning for the verb. No studies have recognized that the verbs also have multiple meanings, nor how these contribute to the multiple meanings of phrasal verbs. The current corpus-based study advances our understanding of phrasal verbs by examining the semantic interaction of the polysemy networks of sixteen frequent and highly polysemous English phrasal verbs with up, out, off and over.Tyler and Evans' (2003) approach to polysemy is used for the semantic networks of the particles. Following the methodology set out by Tyler and Evans, in conjunction with Langacker's (1991) analysis of verbs, a polysemy analysis of the semantics of get, take, turn and hold is laid out. The analysis revealed that a range of independently established meanings of the verb can combine with a range of meanings of the preposition. The result is a systematic, compositional set of meanings for each phrasal verb. The Cognitive Linguistics (CL) analysis of the semantics of phrasal verbs provides evidence for their non-arbitrary, compositional nature, demonstrating that the meanings of a phrasal verb can be systematically accounted for if one considers the interaction of the polysemy networks of the verb and preposition. Among the principles of cognition examined in CL literature, the notion of embodiment was found to play a particularly important role in understanding the meanings of phrasal verbs.Further analysis of verb-particle combinations showed that lexical aspect is partially compositional in phrasal verbs. The situation type meaning in a phrasal verb is formed through the combination of the situation types denoted individually by the verb and the particle. Depending on the construal, particles can make contributions to certain characteristics of a situation, which explains why they tend to combine with certain meanings of the verbs. Finally, a comparison between high and low frequency particles in the corpus revealed a tight relationship between frequency of use and the embodied meanings of the particle.
Embargo Lift Date
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Applying cognitive linguistics and task-supported language teaching to instruction of English conditional phrases Jacobsen, Natalia Dolgova (Georgetown University, 2012)Due to their internal complexity, English conditional phrases (e.g., "If it rains tomorrow, we will cancel the picnic"; "If John had come to the party yesterday, he would have told you his favorite joke"; etc.) represent ...