• CfP: 35 Years of Constructions


    A language can associate semantic information with structures larger than elementary lexical items and can associate semantic interpretation principles with syntactic configurations larger and more complex than those definable by means of single phrase structure rules.

    (Fillmore, Kay & O’Connor 1988: 534)´


    The well-known conceptual metaphor ‘THEORIES ARE BUILDUNGS’ (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) suggests that theories are developed, rather than born. As such, it is impossible to pinpoint an exact point in time when a particular theory came to life. Nevertheless, the publication of Lakoff’s  There - study (1987) or Fillmore, Kay & O’Connor’s Let alone - paper (1988)  can be seen as two of the key starting points of Construction Grammar, which has since grown into a broad and diverse field of research (e.g. Hoffmann & Trousdale 2013; Boas 2021). The papers just mentioned already established a number of central ideas that were later spelled out in more detail in Goldberg’s (1995) seminal monograph, which arguably consolidated the field and helped establish it as a major linguistic framework in its own right.

    We want to use the 35th anniversary of Fillmore et al.’s paper as an opportunity to discuss the current state-of-the-art in Construction Grammar by engaging with constructional Classics (papers and monographs) that have shaped the framework over the last decades (e.g. Michaelis and Lambrecht 1996; Israel 1996; Jackendoff 1997; Croft 2001; Tomasello 2003; Cappelle 2006; among many others). We therefore invite authors to submit empirical studies as well as non-empirical think-pieces which take a cue or concept from these early influential papers and discuss to what extent the ideas hold up in more recent approaches, especially in the light of new empirical evidence. The idea is that the original arguments and ideas are briefly summarized after which the authors present their own research (critically) reflecting on the concept(s) highlighted and proposed in the key papers. It is also up to the contributors to freely choose a  ‘younger’ key paper for discussion and explain why they consider their choice seminal. 

    We invite expressions of interest via an abstract specifying the main topic, the chosen key paper or monograph and the type of submission, i.e. short think-piece (4000-6000 words) or empirical study (roughly 10.000 words). Please send this information to constructions@hhu.de until July 10th, 2022. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be sent soon after.

    After acceptance, the first draft should be submitted by January 31, 2023, via the submission interface at constructions.journals.hhu.de.  The accepted papers will be published in a special issue of Constructions (tentative publication date end of 2023) celebrating the success of CxG.


     Boas, Hans C. 2021. Construction Grammar and Frame Semantics. In Xu Wen & John R. Taylor (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 43–77. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351034708.

    Capelle, Bert. 2006. Particle placement and the case for “allostructions”. Constructions 1, 1-28. 

    Croft, William. 2001. Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 

    Israel, Michael. 1996. The way constructions grow. In Adele E. Goldberg (ed.), Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language, 217-230. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Jackendoff, Ray. 1997. Twistin’ the night away. Language, 73, 532-559.

    Lakoff, George & Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: Chicago University Press. 

    Lakoff, George. 1987. Woman, Fire and Dangerous Things. What Categories Reveal About the Mind. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    Michaelis, Laura A & Knud Lambrecht. 1996.  The exclamative sentence type in English. In A. E Goldberg(ed.), Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language, 375-389. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Fillmore, Charles J., Paul Kay & Mary Catherine O’Connor. 1988. Regularity and Idiomaticity in Grammatical Constructions: The Case of Let Alone. Language 64(3). 501–538.

    Hoffmann, Thomas & Graeme Trousdale. 2013. Construction Grammar: Introduction. In Thomas Hoffmann & Graeme Trousdale (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar, 1–12. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Tomasello, Michael. 2003. Constructing a Language. A Usage-based Theory of Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


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