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I blackberried him twice and skyped him a happy Father’s day

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In this article we zoom in on the Verbs of Instrument of Communication (B. Levin 1993) in English and French and address a number of interesting issues. We examine the structural possibilities of the old and new Verbs of Instrument of Communication in comparison with one another and across the two languages. First, despite the creative uses of these verbs, some structural differences between the languages still prevail in the old and new Verbs of Instrument of Communication. For instance, while English allows non-pronominal realisation of object and recipient in the so called double-object construction, this is not the case for French. Secondly, it can be observed that some verbs are more frequent in one construction than in another. For instance, while ‘fax someone something’ does occur with significant frequency in English and French, ‘telephone someone something’ occurs much less frequently. The observed cross-linguistic syntactic differences are explained in terms of a different conceptualisation of the communicative event where the structural possibilities correspond to different semantic frames.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 03 December 2010

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