A gradient notion of constructionhood

  • Tobias Ungerer
Keywords: Construction Grammar, gradience, constructionhood, constructional network


This paper contrasts two views of constructions that have emerged over the last decades of constructionist research. On the one hand, constructions are often treated in categorical terms, assuming that linguistic units either display the characteristics of a construction or not. Alternatively, constructions can be viewed in gradient terms, positing that linguistic patterns vary in their degree of constructionhood, i.e., the extent to which they display constructional characteristics. It is argued that the gradient view provides a more plausible account of speakers’ linguistic knowledge. Moreover, several implications of the gradient view for current and future constructionist research are outlined.