Drawing on work in linguistics, language acquisition, and computer science, Adele E. Goldberg proposes that grammatical constructions play a central role in the relation between the form and meaning of simple sentences. She demonstrates that the syntactic patterns associated with simple sentences are imbued with meaning—that the constructions themselves carry meaning independently of the words in a sentence.
Goldberg provides a comprehensive account of the relation between verbs and constructions, offering ways to relate verb and constructional meaning, and to capture relations among constructions and generalizations over constructions. Prototypes, frame semantics, and metaphor are shown to play crucial roles. In addition, Goldberg presents specific analyses of several constructions, including the ditransitive and the resultative constructions, revealing systematic semantic generalizations.
Through a comparison with other current approaches to argument structure phenomena, this book narrows the gap between generative and cognitive theories of language.