Recent change in the productivity and schematicity of the way-construction: a distributional semantic analysis

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This paper presents a corpus-based study of recent change in the English way-construction, drawing on data from the 1830s to the 2000s. Semantic change in the distribution of the construction is characterized by means of a distributional semantic model, which captures semantic similarity between verbs through their co-occurrence frequency with other words in the corpus. By plotting and comparing the semantic domain of the three senses of the construction at different points in time, it is found that they all have gained in semantic diversity. These findings are interpreted in terms of increases in schematicity, either of the verb slot or the motion component contributed by the construction.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCorpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Early online date18 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Nov 2016


  • productivity, way-construction, recent change, diachronic construction grammar, schematicity