Motion through syntactic frames

  • Feist M
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The introduction of Talmy's (1985, 2000) typology sparked significant interest in linguistic relativity in the arena of motion language. Through careful analysis of the conflation patterns evident in the language of motion events, Talmy noted that one class of languages, V-languages, tends to encode path along with the fact of motion in motion verbs, while a second class, S-languages, tends to encode manner. In the experimental literature, it was reasoned that speakers may be expected to extend novel verbs in accordance with the lexicalization patterns of their native languages. However, the results regarding this prediction are mixed. In this paper, I examine the interplay between the meaning encoded in the motion verb itself and the meaning encoded in the motion description construction, offering a Gricean explanation for co-occurrence patterns and, by extension, for the mixed results. I then explore the implications of this argument for research on possible language effects on thought in this domain. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Linguistic relativity
  • Motion
  • Motion verbs
  • Pragmatics
  • Space

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