Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles
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Causal constructions between Construction Grammar and phraseology

Coordination centre(s)

Séminaire des Sciences du Langage (SeSLa).


A defining characteristic of constructions in Goldberg's (1995 and 2006) sense is non-compositionality. This property also pertains to causal structures with colour adjectives, e.g. (1) Fr. Je suis rouge de colère (lit. 'I am red of anger'), (2) Germ. Er ist grün vor Neid (lit. 'He is green of envy'), (3) It. Sono nero di rabbia (lit. 'I am black of anger'). Although this is a productive structure in different languages, it is also somewhat fixed and language-specific. The exploration of these examples gives us the possibility to discuss issues at the borderline of phraseology and Construction Grammar: i) Colour terms are associated with positive or negative values when used in this particular structure. As such a colour like 'red' (ex. (1)) does not express any negative value. Is this association related to colour terms already lexicalized ? ii) A further property of constructions is their possible polysemous character, i.e. the syntactic structure described here above is related to other similar structures thanks to inheritance links. Can the hierarchy level among these inheritance links be an indication for a phraseologically entrenched status ? E.g. the example (4) Fr. Il est bleu de linguistique (lit. 'He is blue of linguistics' = 'He is crazy about linguistics'), seems to be much more idiomatic than the examples (1)-(3). iii) With empirical tests the degree of establishment/lexicalization of the construction with colour terms will be investigated in different speech communities.


De Knop Sabine.


construction grammar / causal construction / adjective / color adjective / phraseology / idiomatic expression.


Fabio Mollica, Università degli Studi di Milano
Alexander Ziem, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf
Maria Isabel Gonzalez-Rey, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela.