• The way to analyse ‘way’: A case study in word-specific local grammar

      Hanks, Patrick; Može, Sara (Oxford Academic, 2019-02-11)
      Traditionally, dictionaries are meaning-driven—that is, they list different senses (or supposed senses) of each word, but do not say much about the phraseology that distinguishes one sense from another. Grammars, on the other hand, are structure-driven: they attempt to describe all possible structures of a language, but say little about meaning, phraseology, or collocation. In both disciplines during the 20th century, the practice of inventing evidence rather than discovering it led to intermittent and unpredictable distortions of fact. Since 1987, attempts have been made in both lexicography (Cobuild) and syntactic theory (pattern grammar, construction grammar) to integrate meaning and phraseology. Corpora now provide empirical evidence on a large scale for lexicosyntactic description, but there is still a long way to go. Many cherished beliefs must be abandoned before a synthesis between empirical lexical analysis and grammatical theory can be achieved. In this paper, by empirical analysis of just one word (the noun way), we show how corpus evidence can be used to tackle the complexities of lexical and constructional meaning, providing new insights into the lexis-grammar interface.