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Argument structure in a usage-based perspective

Lunella Mereu


This paper aims to present an analysis of the argument structure of three Italian verbs that are associated with the ‘commercial transaction’ frame (comprare “to buy”, vendere “to sell”, pagare “to pay”), in the light of a constructionist and usage-based approach. The discussion runs as follows: The first part is a theoretical review of the studies on argument structure, Construction Grammar, and usage-based models. This framework is then applied to a corpus of data, in order to extract the syntactic and semantic frames of these verbs, both in their most prototypical constructions and in other, less usual, patterns. Finally, it is shown how this methodology can capture the wide range of variation that characterizes a number of lexically-complex constructions that are distributed along the lexicon-syntax-semantics continuum.


argument structure; lexicon-syntax interface; semantics; complex lexical expressions

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