Trip the freaking light fantastic: Syntactic structure in English verbal idioms Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Neal, Anissa
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
  • In past scholarship, idioms have been discussed from a mostly semantic perspective; authors have been primarily concerned with how idiomatic meaning is composed and stored (Swinney and Cutler 1979; Gibbs 1980; 1986). This thesis investigates idioms' syntactic behavior and concludes that all verbal idioms of English have stored, internal syntactic structure. Vacuous modification (i.e. modification that does not contribute to the semantics of the phrase), metalinguistic modification (i.e. modification that indicates non-literal readings), aspect, and subject-oriented adverbs (SOAs) are used to test a variety of idioms for evidence of syntactic structure.. There are restrictions on the syntactic processes some idioms can undergo (i.e. passivization and raising constructions). However, this is not due to their lack of internal syntax, but how their meaning is mapped onto the internal syntax.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Terry, J. Michael
  • Pertsova, Katya
  • Hendrick, Randall
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2017

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