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Towards a comprehensive Construction Grammar account of control: A case study of Swedish infinitives

Journal article
Authors Benjamin Lyngfelt
Published in Constructions and Frames
Volume 1
Issue 2
Pages 153-189
ISSN 1876-1933
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Swedish
Pages 153-189
Language en
Keywords control, infinitive, implicit subject, swedish, construction grammar, valence, frame, external argument, locality
Subject categories Linguistics, Specific Languages, Swedish language


Based on an extensive corpus study, this paper presents an overview of control patterns in Swedish infinitives and sketches a CxG account of the data. To capture the variety of control relations encountered, the approach combines elements of traditional CxG, Frame Semantics, and Sign-Based Construction Grammar. Three basic mechanisms are distinguished: control by selection, where the controlled element is coinstantiated with an argument of the selecting head; control by feature percolation, where the interpretation is determined by the syntactic and pragmatic context; and arbitrary "control", which is treated as non-control, where the understood subject argument is specified for generic or arbitrary reference and, hence, needs no controller. More specific control patterns, including such issues as control shift and pragmatic control, are treated as specific variants of these three basic types.

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