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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The present chapter outlines the possible problems that may arise from applying a construction grammar approach to the study of international dialects of English. Using Singapore English as a base for comparison, it discusses construction types such as the progressive construction, the ‘false’ transitive construction, and the bare nominal construction (BNC), raising the question whether constructions in contact situations can be seen as constructions of the lexifier source language or the substrate languages which usually provide the syntactic source for the construction type. It also approaches the notion of ‘coercion’ often associated with construction analysis, and proposes that such a notion need not be evoked at all, given the hypothesis of ‘merger’ constructions, which in many cases can justify the selection of an ambiguous syntactic form across dialects by accommodating two (allo-construction) variants of the same construction type.

Keywords: constructions, coercion, Singapore English, merger constructions, conventionalized scenarios, bare nominal construction

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