Friedrich Ungerer - Recent book


How Grammar Links Concepts
Verb-mediated constructions, attribution, perspectivizing

Friedrich Ungerer
University of Rostock

The proposed framework of concept linking combines insights of construction grammar with those of traditional functional descriptions to explain particularly challenging but often neglected areas of English grammar such as negation, modality, adverbials and non-finite constructions. To reach this goal the idea of a unified network of constructions is replaced by the triad of verb-mediated constructions, attribution and scope-based perspectivizing, each of them understood as a syntactically effective concept-linking mechanism in its own right, but involved in interfaces with the other mechanisms.

In addition, concept linking supplies a novel approach to early child language. It casts fresh light on widely accepted descriptions of early two-word utterances and verb islands in usage-based models of language acquisition and encourages a new view of children’s ‘mistakes’.

Intended readership: Constructionist and cognitive linguists; linguists and psychologists interested in language acquisition; teachers and students of English grammar and grammar in general.

[Human Cognitive Processing, 57] 2017. xiii, 325 pp.
Hb 978 90 272 4673 8 EUR 99.00 /
e-book 978 90 272 6578 4 EUR 99.00 /


Table of contents
(with the author's additional explanations in traditional terminology)

Chapter 1. Introduction

Part 1. Basics

Chapter 2. Mechanisms of concept linking
Verb-mediated constructions or VMCs (mostly S-V-O); attribution (modifiers, adverbials), perspectivizing (sentence modes, tense-aspect-modality or TAM, various types of adverbs)

Chapter 3. Hierarchy in concept linking
Interlocking hierarchies of VMCs, attribution (from compounds to relative and adverbial clauses), perspectivizing (sentence types, negation, TAM, adverbs etc.)

Chapter 4. Restrictions on concept linking
Subcategorization of VMC participants by the predicator, sensitivity of perspectivizers to deixis, gradability, dynamicity, polarity/assertiveness and factuality

Chapter 5. Signaling concept linking
The role of word order (serialization, adjacency, scope extension), of morphology and function words

Chapter 6. Concept linking, topic, comment and focusing
Positional focus (in simple VMCs and cleft sentences), perspectival focus (created by focusing adverbs and other adverbs)

Part 2. Interfaces

Chapter 7. Introductory remarks on interfaces in concept linking

Chapter 8. Interfaces of verb-mediated constructions and attribution
Constructions with subject complements and adjective complements; constructions with free and semi-obligatory adverbials (location, direction, time when, duration, frequency, instrument, method), constructions with prepositional objects and phrasal verbs

Chapter 9. Interfaces of perspectivizing and attribution (adverb interfaces)
Manner adverbs in final position, adjectival adverbs

Chapter 10. Non-finite constructions as interfaces of VMCs, attribution and perspectivizing
Unextended infinitive, gerund and participle constructions, for+infinitive and with+participle constructions, full gerunds and half gerunds, object+infinitive constructions, absolute participle constructions and non-verbal clauses

Chapter 11. Interfaces and the grammaticalization of perspectivizers
Development of semi-modals (going to, want to, have to) into TAM perspectivizers and of I think/I say into viewpoint perspectivizers

Part 3. Language acquisition

Chapter 12. Introductory remarks on concept linking in language acquisition

Chapter 13. Temporal priority of attribution in early language acquisition
Early non-verbal and verb-containing two word-items experienced as 'belonging together', followed by pivot structures as a second stage

Chapter 14. The emergence of VMCs and copula/modifier interfaces
Development of put-construction, want-construction, that/this is-construction

Chapter 15. The development of perspectivizing mechanisms
Negation, what- and where-questions,TAM, semi-modals (going to, want to, have to); 'back-door' entry to object+infinitive constructions and to complex sentences introduced by I think

Chapter 16. Conclusion and outlook


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Last update: May 2019