Book section Open Access

The syntactic flexibility of semantically non-decomposable idioms

Bargmann, Sascha; Sailer, Manfred

Nunberg et al. (1994) caused a shift in perspective from a monolithic view of all
idioms towards a word-level approach for semantically decomposable idioms. We
take that idea one step further and argue that a semantically non-decomposable
idiom of syntactically regular shape can also be analyzed in terms of individual
word-level lexical entries. We suggest that these entries combine according to the
standard rules of syntax and that the restrictions on the syntactic flexibility of a
semantically non-decomposable idiom follow exclusively from the interaction of
the special semantics of these entries with the semantic and pragmatic constraints
of the relevant syntactic constructions in a particular language. In our analysis, the
words constituting a non-decomposable idiom make partially identical semantic
contributions. We formulate our analysis in Lexical Resource Semantics (Richter
& Sailer 2004).


Files (285.3 kB)
Name Size
285.3 kB Download
All versions This version
Views 297297
Downloads 6969
Data volume 19.7 MB19.7 MB
Unique views 293293
Unique downloads 6363


Cite as