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Changes in Argument Structure

The Transitivizing Reaction Object Construction

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Tamara Bouso-Rivas

This book deals with the characterization and history of the reaction object construction (ROC), as in Pauline smiled her thanks. The ROC consists of an intransitive verb followed by a nonprototypical object that expresses a reaction such that the whole syntactic unit acquires the extended meaning "express X by V-ing" (e.g. "Pauline expressed her thanks by smiling"). The hypothesis is put forward that ROCs follow a similar pathway as other valency-increasing constructions such as the cognate object construction and the way-construction, occurring first with more transitive-like verbs and then expanding to intransitives. Historical corpus evidence from several complementary data sources confirms this idea and reveals striking parallelisms with the way-construction.

Tamara Bouso holds a PhD in English linguistics from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Her research interests include language variation and change, (Diachronic) Construction Grammar, and transitivization processes in the history of English.