Construction Grammar and phraseology.

2016. №3, 7-21

Dmitrij O. Dobrovol’skij
Vinogradov Institute of the Russian Language, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119019, Russian Federation;


The article discusses the relationship between Construction Grammar and phraseology. At present, Construction Grammar (CxG) is a conglomerate of different approaches and concepts rather than a unified theory. Basic principles shared by all CxG approaches include the rejection of a clear boundary between grammar and lexicon and the repudiation of the static view of language, according to which utterances are constructed from lexical units with fixed meanings joined together by regular grammatical rules independent of these meanings. CxG focuses on the dynamic aspects of utterance generation. The elements from which the utterance is constructed are sensitive to their environment and influence the very means by which syntactic phrases are formed. In other words, the meaning of the units of the lexicon depends on syntax, and syntax depends on the selection of lexical units. Since phraseology is by definition located in the intermediate zone between lexicon and grammar, the interests of Construction Grammar and the theory of phraseology quite naturally intersect. In order to research the specific features of the phraseological system it is important to identify these points of intersection — that is, to determine in which cases the use of the ideas and metalinguistic instruments of CxG can be useful for developing the theory of phraseology. A number of such instances are discussed in the article.