structures = lexical phrases?

I was reading about lexical phrases aka sentence stems aka composite forms in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. It seemed to me that on the surface these were similar to the chunks or structures or items (Lizette). “They are chunks of language in which all the items have been preassembled.” p. 163.
Examples are ‘it seems to me’, ‘would you mind’, on the one hand…. on the other hand’, ‘lived happily ever after’. One study grouped them into four main types: polywords like in a nutshell, by the way; institutional expressions like ‘have a nice day’, ‘long time no see’’; phrasal restraints like ‘as I was —–ing’, ‘as far as I —–‘; sentence builders like ‘my point is that….’, ‘that reminds me of’, ‘let me begin by….’.
I’m wondering if this might be a basis for building the structures people keep asking for.
BTW, at some point I’d like to post an article on the main verbs used in tprs, the Saintly 7 or whatever. I noticed that they are all compromised in most languages and are somewhat complex to learn via the old grammar explanation method, think Russian verbs of motion (augghhhh!).


  1. Terry Waltz says:

    I don’t think these are entirely what TPRS has in mind, as these seem to be more fixed things. I think the four groups in the study mentioned specifically misses out on TPRS style items, especially since most of the ones given as examples are lower frequency. Items need to be higher frequency, which may make them so “obvious” that studies wouldn’t consider them in the first place.

    1. Pat Barrett says:

      Part of my interest in this, Terry, came from your request for help with structures in Russian for a card game you were constructing. I still have the correspondence on it. I had trouble narrowing the structures down to exactly what you are saying: what tprs has in mind. This may be why so many people want lists; they are a bit impoverished in coming up with these items. Perhaps doing tprs generates such lists in one’s mind, making it easier to construct lessons based on the 3 or so typical of a lesson.

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