Spectacle and sensationalism in Construction Grammar

  • Frank Brisard University of Antwerp


This concerns a think-piece on Kay & Fillmore (1999), “Grammatical constructions and linguistic generalizations: The What’s X doing Y? construction”. I argue that claims about non-compositional constructional meaning (i.e., the idiomatic meaning of incongruity ascribed to WXDY as a whole) should not be made too quickly. I also argue for a reappraisal of schematic representations of sub-constructional elements, specifically at the level of grammatical meaning. In particular, I submit that the meaning of incongruity is at least partially motivated by a similar set of meanings associated with the English present progressive, which is a necessary constituent of WXDY.

How to Cite
Brisard, F. (2023). Spectacle and sensationalism in Construction Grammar. Constructions, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.24338/cons-536