Edited By Małgorzata Fabiszak, Karolina Krawczak and Katarzyna Rokoszewska
The English get-Passive Revisited
The present paper is concerned with the semantic characteristics of the English get-passive construction. The paper takes a Cognitive Linguistic approach to syntactic structure, arguing that get-passives represent a radial network of interrelated senses centered around the prototypical use, which represents action chain in the sense of Langacker (2008: 35f.). The main goal of this study is to elucidate this network, i.e. to account for the range of meanings conveyed by the get + PAST PARTICIPLE construction and the links holding between them. Furthermore, using the corpus-based method of distinctive collexeme analysis, the paper provides empirical evidence in favour of the thesis that the get-passive represents a construction in its own right, which is syntactically and semantically distinct from the be-passive construction. As argued here, the semantic distinctiveness of the two constructions resides in alternative construals they tend to impose on scenes being described.
The English so called get-passive, and especially its syntactic, semantic and pragmatic distinctiveness from the be-passive, has received considerable attention from researchers of various methodological and theoretical persuasions (cf. Alexiadou 2005; Carter & McCarthy 1999; Chappell 1980; Collins 2005; Downing 1996; Fleisher 2008; Haegeman 1985; Hatcher 1949; Reed 2011; Sussex 1982; Vanrespaille 1991). Interesting and informative as these studies might be, they leave unresolved many fundamental issues. One of them is the question of what actually should count as the get-passive, that is whether such divergent uses as get married, get involved, get frustrated, or get killed can...
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