Referentiality and Configurationality in the Idiom and the Phrasal Verb

Bozsahin C.

JOURNAL OF LOGIC LANGUAGE AND INFORMATION, vol.32, no.2, pp.175-207, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10849-022-09381-y
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, Applied Science & Technology Source, Computer & Applied Sciences, INSPEC, Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Philosopher's Index, Psycinfo, zbMATH
  • Page Numbers: pp.175-207
  • Keywords: Compositionality, Idiom, Metaphor, Multiword expression, Semantics, Syntax, Type, Verb-particle, UNIVERSAL, ARGUMENT
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Two positions of Bolinger, about synonymy and meaningfulness of words, point to significance of controlling the referentiality of word forms, from representing them in grammar to their projection onto surface structure, i.e. configurationality. In particular, it becomes critical to control the range of surface substitution for surface syntactic categories of words to maintain referential properties of idiosyncrasy. Categorial grammars as reference systems suggest ways to keep the two aspects in grammar. The first dividend of adopting a categorial perspective is systematically distinguishing metaphorical sense extensions from idioms. The second dividend is procedural. Some tokens can be seen to be types themselves, with distinct referential import. Furthermore, some idiomatic meanings which require a unique phonological word for specific reference to events and participants can be types too. Together they can be thought of as the idiotype. The idiotype as idiosyncrasy's foot through the door of grammar reveals controllable range of possibilities for referentiality and configurationality of idiosyncrasy. Phrasal and idiomatic meanings can then be treated compositionally, given the proposed added role of paracompositionality arising from event versus predicate distinction at the level of predicate-argument structure, in multiword expression cum idiom and phrasal verb treatment, which we show for English, Mandarin Chinese and Turkish.