Construction grammars: Towards a pedagogical model

Hugh Randal HOLME

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Constructions are the central unit of grammatical analysis in cognitive linguistics. In formal linguistics ‘construction’ referred to forms that were projected from lexical items rather than from an autonomous syntax. Thus, an expression, ‘I danced the night away’ requires an intransitive verb in a transitive construction provided ‘away’ is present. In cognitive linguistics, constructions comprise any grouping of words or morphemes that in combination possess meanings that cannot be predicted from the parts in isolation. This meaning belongs to the construction itself and is not necessarily dependent upon the presence of a given item of lexis. If this definition is accepted by second language teachers the fundamental interest is that language learning is about learning lexis, constructions, and the text types by which constructions are combined. This article first distills a concept of a construction useful to a pedagogical grammar and considers the relationship of this concept of form to better known language content ‘packets’ such as the structure and the lexical phrase. Last, it discusses how a CL concept of construction does and does not propose different pedagogical methods. Copyright © 2010 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-133
JournalAILA Review
Publication statusPublished - 2010


HOLME, R. (2010). Construction grammars: Towards a pedagogical model. AILA Review, 23, 115-133.


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