Figurativeness in English grammar: The role of metonymic tropes and schemes of repetition

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This chapter considers the relationship between constructions (understood as conventional pairings of form and meaning, following the traditions of construction grammar) and certain kinds of figurative language, namely metonymic tropes and schemes of repetition. Inspired by Colman & Anderson (2004) and Anderson (2014), I consider the ways in which figurativeness has a central role in the organization of grammar, and in the process of grammatical change, including the creation of word-formation schemas. The role of metonymy in shifts from morphological compounds to derivational affixes is explored, along with creation of affixoids, comparing this with other more saliently metonymic processes (e.g. the baddie and wrinkly types noted by Colman & Anderson 2004). Having considered the various theoretical positions on the place of metonymy in word-formation processes, the chapter moves to a discussion of the diverse reduplication patterns of English. Both partial (e.g. nitwit) and full (e.g. night-night) reduplications are explored. The discussion suggests that speakers of English have conventionalised reduplicative patterns in different ways, some of which have resulted in atomic and substantive constructions, such as hush-hush ‘secret’, and some of which have resulted in more complex and schematic constructions, such as the contrastive focus reduplication construction (e.g. I need a drink-drink, not tea) as characterised by Ghomeshi et al (2004).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSubstance-based Grammar
Subtitle of host publicationThe (Ongoing) Work of John Anderson
EditorsRoger Böhm, Harry van der Hulst
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISBN (Electronic)9789027263391
ISBN (Print)9789027201652
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Language Companion Series


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