When Richard met CG: Reference-point and English copy-raising

Chongwon Park, Daniel Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The aim of this paper is to develop a Cognitive Grammar-based analysis of English Copy-raising (CR) constructions such as Richard seems like he is dancing. We argue that the notion of reference-point plays a crucial role in licensing the matrix-subject of the construction. In CR, with the epistemic verbs seem and appear, the matrix-subject functions as a reference-point in relation to the pronominal copy (if a copy exists) in the embedded clause. The aboutness topicality of the matrix-subject in CR is expected, owing to its reference-point property. The epistemic CR construction is acceptable without a pronominal copy if the matrix-subject functions as a reference-point in relation to the complement clause. The same type of analysis is applied to the CR construction with perceptual resemblance (PR) verbs-sound, look, feel, and smell-leading to the conclusion that the strong dichotomy between epistemic and PR verbs is illusory. It is further demonstrated that expletive there-raising in CR is motivated by the same reference-point phenomenon. The difference between there-raising and other CR examples stems from the role of there as a setting subject. Our reference-point-based analysis predicts a metonymic interpretation of the matrix-subject, which we attribute to the connection between reference-point and metonymy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-500
Number of pages28
JournalLanguage and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Cognitive Grammar
  • copy-raising
  • perceptual resemblance verbs
  • perceptual source
  • reference-point


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