Accounting for the Alternating Behaviour of Location Arguments from the Perspective of Role and Reference Grammar

  • Carolina Rodríguez-Juárez Research Institute of Text Analysis and Applications Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


This paper presents a description of the alternations in which the location argument participates in English and accounts for its various realizations from the point of view of Role and Reference Grammar. The analysis of the multiple alternating behaviour of the location argument in various transitive and intransitive alternations in English is mostly related to marked macrorole assignment typically to Undergoer, such as in He loaded the truck with hay (as compared with the kernel construction He loaded hay on the truck), but also to Actor as for instance in the Location subject alternation, in which the location argument occupies the subject position, as in The bag carries all your belongings, a construction which implies the loss of one of the arguments in the kernel structure (I carry all your belongings in the bag). Additionally, the syntactic behaviour of location arguments in marked constructions very often conveys a change of Aktionsart ascription with respect to the kernel construction, as in the swarm alternation in which the predicate in the kernel construction is analysed as an activity (Bees swarmed in the garden) whereas in the marked construction it changes into a state (The garden is swarming with bees), a feature that has been attested in some of the constructions analysed in this paper. This investigation also provides an analysis of the with­-phrase that is often encoded in the marked constructions where the location argument is codified as a core argument.Keywords: alternations; constructions; location argument; Role and Reference Grammar

Author Biography

Carolina Rodríguez-Juárez, Research Institute of Text Analysis and Applications Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Carolina Rodríguez-Juárez is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Modern Philology, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Her research interests focus on second language learning and more recently on the interaction between lexis and grammar within the theoretical framework of Role and Reference Grammar and on the computational processing of grammatical phenomena in the FunGramKB knowledge base.


Anderson, Stephen Robert. 1971. “On the Role of Deep Structure on Semantic Interpretation.” Foundations of Language 7: 387-396.

Bleotu, Adina Camelia. 2014. “Location, Locatum Verbs, and the Locative Alternation in English and Romanian.” Wiener Linguistische Gazette, Special Issue 78A: 178-197.

Boas, Hans C. 2003. “A Lexical-Constructional Approach to the Locative Alternation.” Proceedings of the Thirtieth Western Conference on Linguistics. Volume 13. WECOL 2001, edited by Lesley Carmichael, Chia-Hui Huang and Vida Samiian, 27-42. Fresno, CA: California State University.

British National Corpus, 2007. The British National Corpus, version 3 (BNC XML Edition). Distributed by Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, on behalf of the BNC Consortium. [Accessed online on November 6, 2017].

Clark, Eve V. and Herbert H. Clark. 1979. “When Nouns Surface as Verbs.” Language 55: 767-811.

Cortés-Rodríguez, Francisco. 2016. “Revisiting Aktionsart Types for Lexical Classes.” Review of Cognitive Linguistics 14 (2): 498-521.

Goldberg, Adele. 1995. A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago: U of Chicago P.

—. 2006. Constructions at Work. The Nature of Generalization in Language. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP.

Iwata, Seizi. 2008. Locative Alternation: A Lexical-Constructional Approach. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Jackendoff, Ray. 1990. Semantic Structures. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Kailuweit, Rolf. 2008. “A RRG Description of Locative Alternation Verbs in English, French, German and Italian.” In New Applications of Role and Reference Grammar: Diachrony, Grammaticalization, Romance Languages, edited by Rolf Kailuweit, Björn Wiemer, Eva Standinger and Ranko Matasovic, 328-355. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Levin, Beth. 1993. English Verb Classes and Alternations. Chicago: U of Chicago P.

Mairal Usón, Ricardo and Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez. 2008. “New Challenges for Lexical Representation within the Lexical-Constructional Model (LCM).” Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 57: 137-155.

—. 2009. “Levels of Description and Explanation in Meaning Construction.” In Deconstructing Constructions, edited by Christopher Butler and Javier Martín Arista, 135-198. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Mateu, Jaume. 2000. “Lexicalisation Patterns and the Locative Alternation.” Publicacions Centre de Lingüística Teòrica. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. [Accessed online on May 13, 2016].

Periñán-Pascual, Carlos. 2013. “Towards a Model of Constructional Meaning for Natural Language Understanding.” In Linking Constructions into Functional Linguistics: The Role of Constructions in Grammar, edited by Brian Nolan and Elke Diedrichsen, 205-230. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Periñán-Pascual, Carlos and Francisco Arcas-Túnez. 2014. “The Implementation of the FunGramKB CLS Constructor.” In Language Processing and Grammars: The Role of Functionally Oriented Computational Models, edited by Brian Nolan and Carlos Periñán-Pascual, 165-196. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Rappaport, Malka and Beth Levin. 1998. “Building Verb Meanings.” In The Projection of Arguments. Lexical and Compositional Factors, edited by Miriam Butt and Wilhelm Geuder, 97-134. Standford, CA: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

Rodríguez-Juárez, Carolina. 2016. “Constructing the Meaning of Cover and Spread: A Lexical-Constructional Approach.” Onomázein 34 (2): 36-54.

Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Francisco José. 2013. “Meaning Construction, Meaning Interpretation, and Formal Expression in The Lexical Constructional Model.” In Linking Constructions into Functional Linguistics: The Role of Constructions in Grammar, edited by Brian Nolan and Elke Diedrichsen, 231-270. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez, Francisco José and Ricardo Mairal Usón. 2007. “Levels of Semantic Representation: Where Lexicon and Grammar Meet.” Interlingüística 17: 26-47.

—. 2008. “Levels of Description and Constraining Factors in Meaning Construction: An Introduction to the Lexical Constructional Model.” Folia Linguistica 42 (2): 355-400.

Tenny, Carol. 1994. Aspectual Roles and the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Van Valin, Robert D. Jr. 2005. Exploring the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Van Valin, Robert D. Jr. and Randy J. LaPolla. 1997. Syntax, Structure, Meaning and Function. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.