Semantic motivations of the organization of ranges of synonyms involving light verbs

Synonymous constructions of the ‘feledésbe + verb’ type




light verb constructions, polisemy, synonymy, ranges of synonyms, metaphorization


The meanings of light verb constructions are primarily determined by the meanings of the nouns in them (Dobos 2009). However, the light verbs cannot be regarded as “empty”, meaningless elements with only grammatical functions, either (cf. Cetnarowska 2014): they contribute to the meaning of the construction by adding their specific nuances of meaning.

In the present case study, based on data from the Hungarian National Corpus 2 (MNSZ2), I examine light verb constructions following the scheme feledésbe + verb, meaning ‘be forgotten’ (e.g., feledésbe merül ~ feledésbe homályosodik ~ feledésbe enyészik ‘sink/dim/vanish into oblivion’). First, I briefly review the constructions that make up the range of synonyms and outline the way these light verb constructions (as analytic expressions) and the synonymous verb elfelejtődik ‘get forgotten’ (as a synthetic expression) are related. Then, via the analysis of a single expression, feledésbe merül ‘fall into oblivion’, I strive to find out what semantic factors can affect whether a light verb construction becomes conventionalized and assumes a central position within a given range of synonyms.