A constructional analysis of unselected objects in Polish: The case of prze-

Wojciech Lewandowski, Jaume Mateu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


We provide a constructional account of unselected objects in Polish with special focus on valence augmentation and valence creation processes (Michaelis and Ruppenhofer 2001a, 2001b) involved in prze-prefixed predications. Unselected objects appear in two transitive patterns, which we label Objectas-Figure and Object-as-Ground constructions. Unlike most non-cognitivist approaches (cf. Spencer and Zaretskaya 1998) and in accordance with Cognitive Grammar proposals (cf. Janda 1985; Dąbrowska 1996), we argue that prefixes do not have a vague meaning nor are sometimes mere aspectual markers. In particular, we show that the semantics of both prze-patterns is based on an image schema, where a Figure physically crosses a Ground. Furthermore, we show, through a corpus study, that this spatial configuration provides the basis for a number of metaphorical extensions of the central constructional meaning. However, in contrast to some Cognitive Grammar approaches (cf. Dąbrowska 1996), we propose that the prefix is not added to the verb, changing its valency, but rather it is the verb (or other grammatical category) that is integrated into the prefixed construction. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the analytical machinery of Construction Grammar that is used to account for irregular patterns, i.e., direct objects not involved in the verb's argument structure, can also be used to account for regular syntactic patterns, i.e., prze-constructions with prototypical direct objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1236
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2014


  • Construction grammar
  • Polish
  • Unselected objects
  • Verbal prefixation


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