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GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Vol. 2000 (2000) No. 118 P 29-54



The aim of the present paper is to specify the type of verb which can occur in have/ take+a+V constructions in British English, particularly that spoken in Australia. Two factors are involved in the verb selection: one is the a+V, where a signifies "a" or "an" and V signifies an appropriate verb. The other factor is the construction as a whole.
It is argued that since a+V in have/ take + a+V sentences defines the aspect of the verb, it is the a+V alone that determines the possible verbs appearing with it, whether the main verb is have or take. It is also argued that the two constructions have their own respective constructional constraints determined in part by the meanings of the main verbs.
Jespersen (1909-49: Part VI) coined the phrase "light verbs" to refer to have and take in have l take+a+V constructions . Cattell (1984: 2) observes that these verbs signify only tense and number and so are of relatively small importance, semantically speaking. However, this paper shows that these light verbs do contribute significantly to the semantics of sentences including them.

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