1 The semantics of stretched verb constructions
Having considered stretched verb constructions from the point of view of their internal structure and their relationship to each other, we must now turn to the question of the part they play in the language as a whole. We have seen that they involve certain arbitrary restrictions on the combination of words, a feature that reminds us of idioms; on the other hand, we have analysed them grammatically and semantically, as we would for any normal construction. It therefore seems necessary to consider briefly the range of word combinations that are not freely formed grammatical constructions but rather selected as wholes from the lexicon. The entire field of idioms, established metaphors and collocations is an extremely complex one, and every specialist in the field seems to have a different approach and a different way of dividing up the phenomena, with the result that the technical terms have different meanings for different writers, cf. Welte (1990: especially chapter V).