This volume brings together fourteen papers which explore the discourse- pragmatic, semantic, morphological and syntactic factors involved in English morphosyntactic alternations. The contributors to this volume deal with different types of "diathesis alternations" - broadly defined by Levin (English Verb Classes and Alternations. A Preliminary Investigation, 1993) as "alternations in the expressions of arguments, sometimes accompanied by changes of meaning" - i.e. transitivity alternations (such as the causative/inchoative alternation and the conative alternation), alternations involving arguments within the VP (such as the Swarm-alternation, and the dative or benefactive alternations), etc. The volume will also include some contributions dealing more generally with the issues of morphological relatedness and verb-specific alternations within functionalist, cognitive and/or constructionist frameworks.
The book features a wide range of theoretical approaches, ranging from functionalist models such as Functional Discourse Grammar or the Cardiff Grammar version of Systemic Functional Linguistics to more cognitively- oriented approaches such as Goldberg's Construction Grammar or Fillmore's Frame Semantics. This attempt to describe morphosyntactic alternations within different contemporary theories - derivational and non-derivational - will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of the linguistic phenomena traditionally subsumed under the rubric of morphosyntactic alternation. The book will be of interest to experienced linguists and researchers of a functionalist, cognitivist or even functional-typological persuasion.