Manner of obtainment as a relative in family of resultative constructions

  • Konrad Szczesniak University of Silesia


The present paper examines the syntactic and semantic properties of a group of constructions which carry an idiomatic interpretation of obtainment. In Polish and German, the constructions under consideration consist of a verb with a directional particle followed by an object NP, as exemplified in (1a)-(1b).

(1a) Adam wynurkował starego buta. (Polish)
Adam wy- snorkeled old shoe.
‘Adam found an old shoe while snorkeling.’
(1b) Michael erboxte sich den Titel. (German)
Michael er- boxed REFL the title.
‘Michael boxed his way to the (championship) title.’

Sentences containing these constructions will be assumed to have the same basic interpretation “Subject obtains/produces Object by V-ing”. A constructional analysis of the constructions will be proposed, as they pose licensing problems and their interpretation cannot be accounted for in terms of the individual conceptual structures of the lexical items composing the sentence. Unlike most accounts of verb particle constructions based on implicit or explicit assumptions of straightforward semantic composition, the present study proposes an analysis under which the semantic structure of verb particle combinations is not a compositional function of the verb and the particle/prefix alone. It is argued that the construction comes with its own subcategorization frame (separate from that carried by the verb) which is motivated by the meaning of the construction and its corresponding constructional subevent. Additionally, a crosslinguistic correlation will be shown to hold between a language’s ability to express event conflation (Talmy 1985, 2000) and the occurrence of some form of the construction in that language. This will be taken as an indication of the resultative nature of those types of directional phrases which involve the semantic interpretation of boundary crossing.

How to Cite
SzczesniakK. (2022). Manner of obtainment as a relative in family of resultative constructions. Constructions, 5.