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Lexical bleaching of the verbal construction fail to x: A contrastive corpus-based study

Andrej Stopar orcid id ; Sveučilište u Ljubljani

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 403 Kb

str. 125-144

preuzimanja: 530



The English verbal construction fail to x allows two interpretations: in the first, the verb has the full lexical meaning of not being successful in what you are trying to achieve, whereas in the second, it shows signs of semantic bleaching, and is thus interpreted as a grammaticalized marker of negation. Taking into account the syntactic and semantic properties of the construction fail to x, the present analysis examines its distribution in two types of corpora. General corpora (the British National Corpus and the Corpus of Contemporary American English) are used to examine the distribution of both – the non-bleached and bleached – meanings in English. To further elaborate the findings and contrast them on a cross-linguistic level, the parallel English-Slovenian corpus (European Commission’s DGT Translation Memory) is used to observe the translations of the construction fail to x into Slovenian. The parallel corpus of legislative language demonstrates the impact of register on the use of fail to x, and addresses the claims that the bleached fail is characteristically found in more formal registers.

Ključne riječi

lexical bleaching; fail to; negative marker; legislative language

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