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Academic Paper

Title: This construction is too hot to handle: A corpus study of an adjectival construction
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Author: Kim Ebensgaard Jensen
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Institution: Aalborg University
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Semantics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: 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.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: 14th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cognitive Linguistics Association, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, September 21 2013

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