Atemporal complement clauses in English
A Cognitive Grammar Analysis
University of Hamburg
This book deals with verbal complementation in English, namely the introduction of a complement clause into the immediate domination of the verb phrase of a main clause. Its scope of analysis is confined primarily to atemporal (non-finite) complement clauses represented by infinitives, participles and gerunds. The notion atemporal refers to a complement clause that is not grounded in time, and so not anchored with respect to elaborated reality. The framework in which the analysis is conducted is Cognitive Grammar (henceforth CG). The general goal of the analysis is to emphasise the importance of cognitive processes in motivating the linguistic structures of language, regard the syntactic form of an expression as reflecting its conceptual organisation and recognise the speaker's capacity to express a situation in alternate ways. Each expression imparts a particular meaning which is distinguishable from the other.
The specific goal of the analysis is to account for the selection of a type of a complement clause construction, which is a function of both meaning and distribution. The meaning of a complement clause construction, which determines its form, is the result of the particular construal the speaker imposes on its conceptual content. Conceptual content refers to the context of knowledge against which the meaning of the construction is characterised. Construal refers to the particular image the speaker selects from a range of alternatives to structure the content of the construction. Distribution is the result of the semantic compatibility that exists between the internal parts of the construction. By integrating all the variables relevant for complement selection, the book presents a unified account of aspects of verbal complementation, and so represents the first in-depth cognitive analysis of atemporal complement clauses in English.
ISBN 9783895867538. LINCOM Studies in English Linguistics 01. 368pp. 2002.