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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a brief typology of multi-word units (MWUs) based on criteria including selectional preference, semantic compositionality, and syntactic well-formedness, focusing on support verb constructions and verb phrase idioms. Three properties of MWUs make lexicographic treatment a challenge. First, their lexical composition tends to be idiosyncratic. Second, many MWUs are semantically non-compositional; this holds in particular for idiomatic expressions. Third, corpus data show that MWUs are not just frozen ‘long words’ but exhibit considerable morphosemantic and lexical flexibility that defies their treatment as lexical units. In light of these challenges, a critical examination is presented of entries for MWUs in a few representative lexical resources.

Keywords: collocation, idioms, compositionality, flexibility, lexical units, multi-word units, support verb constructions, verb phrase idioms

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