This construction is too hot to handle: A corpus study of an adjectival construction

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This paper presents a synchronic study of an adjectival construction. More specifically, it discusses the [too ADJ to V]-construction (e.g. Tommy was too full to walk), which expresses a causal relation in which the ADJ-element, drawing on the adjectival property of scalarity, specifies a degree of ADJ-ness that prevents the proposition expressed by the V-element from happening. Drawing on data from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and descriptive techniques from corpus linguistics, the paper, investigating the role of the ADJ-element and relations it enters into, seeks to provide an overview of the symbolic and usage-based features of the construction. The study suggests that there are subconstructions at play in addition to the central prevention-expressing one. There are even cases, where [too ADJ to V] expresses a relation of enablement rather than prevention between the ADJ- and the V-elements, which suggests another subconstructional division.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association
EditorsJapanese Cognitive Linguistics Association
Place of PublicationKyoto
PublisherJapanese Cognitive Linguistics Association
Publication dateSep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - cognitive linguistics, construction grammar, corpus linguistics, force dynamics, adjectives, adjectival constructions, scalar adjectival constructions, scalar semantics, Corpus of Contemporary American English, collostructional analysis, covarying collexemes, distinctive collexemes, American English

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