A Computer-Aided Re- Appraisal of Co-selection: Implications for Interlingual and Intercultural Communication
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This article argues that the systemic study of the realisational relationship which holds between “meaning” and “form” could benefit from the appropriation of recent advances in the field of Corpus Linguistics. We take as our point of departure the key systemic contention that the meaning potential of language can be ultimately reduced down to finite system networks of choices, whose most delicate realisations —i.e. the ultimate units conveying meaning— have so far received a relatively small amount of scholarly attention. By contrast, the fact that meaning often spans several lexical units correlating with distinctive grammatical patterns has come to feature increasingly higher in the research agenda of corpus linguists, thus bringing to the fore the importance of the so-called “co-selectional” relationships. This article illustrates the dynamics of this relationship between lexis and grammar by drawing on a corpus-based analysis of semi-idiomatic expressions. Further, it attempts to stake out some sort of middle ground between Systemic Functional and Corpus Linguistics as well as find a common underpinning to the formal realisation of meaning.