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RLA. Revista de lingüística teórica y aplicada

versión On-line ISSN 0718-4883

Resumen

PENADES MARTINEZ, INMACULADA. ARBITRARINESS AND MOTIVATION IN COLLOCATIONS. RLA [online]. 2017, vol.55, n.2, pp.121-142. ISSN 0718-4883.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-48832017000200121.

In this article we examine the concept of arbitrariness and motivation in the area of collocations. The authors who characterise these units as having the property of arbitrariness do not offer a definition of the term, and generally link it to linguistic usage, which determines the limits in the choice of a collocative by the base. Neither is the concept of motivation defined on applying it to collocations, although this concept is currently preferred for their characterisation, in preference to arbitrariness. From this standpoint, collocations are considered to be motivated because a collocative is not an individual choice made by a base; on the contrary, bases form semantic classes and show certain features, usually semantic ones, which are shared with the collocative. Without wishing to deny this fact, this article starts from Saussure's concept of arbitrariness and a definition of motivation linked to European structuralism. The conclusion is that all idioms are relatively arbitrary, that is to say, partially motivated, and that they present both morphological and semantic motivation. This theoretical vision of collocations has implications that are applied in the field of lexicography and in language teaching and learning.

Palabras clave : Collocations; idioms; arbitrariness; motivation; F. de Saussure; structuralism; linguistic historiography.

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