ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000 Non Derivable Meaning

In order to prove that the construction is in fact needed, Goldberg, once more, has to show that its meaning cannot be derived from the lexical items nor from any other construction. She points out that none of the lexical items per se entail motion. She tries to prove this with examples very similar to (6.131) and (6.132):

(6.133) Frank dug an escape route out of prison.

(6.134) Frank found a way to New York.

To demonstrate that they do not entail motion, she cancels the implication:
(6.135) Frank dug an escape route out of prison, but he hasn’t gone yet.

(6.136) Frank found a way to New York, but he hasn’t gone yet.

This cannot be done to (6.131) and (6.132) because they do entail motion:
(6.137) * Frank dug his way out of the prison, but he hasn’t gone yet.

(6.138) * Frank found his way to New York, but he hasn’t gone yet.

Thus, neither the verb nor way entail a motion sense on their own. Another possibility would be that the combination of the possessive bound pronoun with way contributes the motion component of the meaning. Goldberg rules this out with an example like:
(6.139) He knows his way around town.
In this sentence, there is no entailment of motion because the verb know is stative and the construction requires a nonstative verb. Nevertheless, this might not be a good example, because although real motion is not entailed, ‘fictive’ motion (in the sense of Talmy 1996) is certainly present.

Goldberg points out that other authors like Salkoff (1988) and Jackendoff (1990) have also proposed that the way construction provides evidence for the view that verbs are not the sole determinant of complement configuration. Jackendoff in particular thinks that the way construction is a kind of ‘constructional idiom.’ For him, examples like (6.131) and (6.132) could be explained by appealing to a clause-level construction that exists independently of the verbs that participate in it. This is very similar to Goldberg’s proposal.

The alternative to the constructional approach is again the lexicalist, by which the verbs appearing in this pattern have a special motion sense which predicts its occurrence in it. Goldberg rejects this with the argument that a large number of verbs take part in the construction. To invoke a motion sense for all of them would be implausible, and once more would lead to a multiplication of the verb senses. Additionally, verbs exist for which it would be very difficult to postulate a motion sense. She offers several examples:

(6.140) . . . he’d bludgeoned his way through, right on the stroke of half-time.

(6.141) [the players will] maul their way up the middle of the field.

(6.142) . . . glaciers which had repeatedly nudged their way between England and Wales.

(6.143) their customers snorted and injected their way to oblivion and sometimes died on the stairs.

(6.144) But he consummately ad-libbed his way through a largely secret press meeting.

(6.145) I cannot inhabit his mind nor even imagine my way through the dark labyrinth of its distorsion.

(6.146) Lord King craftily joked and blustered his way out of trouble at the meeting.

It is even more difficult for the last four examples because they involve metaphorical motion.

Another argument against the lexicalist account is semantic parsimony. It is more parsimonious to associate the semantic motion component to the construction rather than to lexical polysemy of the verb because the proposed motion sense occurs with these verbs only when they appear in this pattern and is not available in other constructions:

(6.147) * Chris bludgeoned/mauled/snorted and injected into the room
This is not the case with verbs that encode literal or metaphorical motion. The motion meaning of these verbs can show up in other constructions as well as in the way construction:
(6.148) Lucky may have inched ahead of the Black Stallion.

(6.149) He can’t worm out of that situation.

Thus, the lexicalist account would not only have to stipulate additional senses for each of the verbs in this construction, but also that this sense occurs only in this particular syntactic configuration.

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ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000