This book revisits the theoretical and psycholinguistic controversies centred around the intriguing nature of idioms and proposes a more systematic cognitive-linguistic model of their grammatical status and use. Whenever speakers vary idioms in actual discourse, they open a linguistic window into idiomatic creativity - the complex cognitive processing and representation of these heterogeneous linguistic constructions. Idiomatic creativity therefore raises two challenging questions: What are the cognitive mechanisms that underlie and shape idiom-representation? How do these mechanisms define the scope and limits of systematic idiom-variation in actual discourse? The book approaches these problems by means of a comprehensive cognitive-linguistic architecture of meaning and language and analyses them on the basis of corpus-data from the British National Corpus (BNC). Therefore, Idiomatic Creativity should be of great interest to cognitive linguists, phraseologists, corpus linguists, advanced students of linguistics, and all readers who are interested in the fascinating interplay of language and cognitive processing.This book has a companion website: www.idiomatic-creativity.ch.
1. Acknowledgments; 2. 1. Introduction; 3. 2. Idiom representation and variation: A hard nut to crack; 4. 3. The cognitive architecture of meaning and language; 5. 4. Idiom representation - a cognitive-linguistic model; 6. 5. The conceptual motivation of idioms denoting SUCCESS, PROGRESS and FAILURE; 7. 6. Idiom variation and variability: a cognitive-linguistic model; 8. 7. The lexicogrammatical variation of idioms denoting SUCCESS, PROGRESS and FAILURE; 9. 8. Conclusions and outlook; 10. Notes; 11. References; 12. Author Index; 13. Subject Index