‘Brian sent Antarctica a walrus’: Construction Grammars and Second Language Learning

  • Jeannette Littlemore


In this chapter I take the idea of linguistic motivation that was discussed in the previous chapter and extend it to the level of the phrase, by focusing on construction grammars. In Chapter 3 we saw that different aspects of language, such as words, morphemes, parts of speech and even intonation patterns, have been found to exist within radial categories. Findings from cognitive linguistics are starting to show that this phenomenon stretches beyond the word, operating at a phraseological level too. In other words, grammar patterns, or constructions, also carry their own meanings, independently of the words they contain. These meanings exist within radial categories that have more concrete, prototypical, and more abstract peripheral members. For example, if we look at the following instance of what Goldberg (1995: 152) describes as the ‘caused motion’ construction, in example (56):

(56) Jake pushed the vase off the table


Language Teaching Implicit Learning Language Classroom Cognitive Linguistic Motion Construction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Jeannette Littlemore 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeannette Littlemore
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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