The Many Ways to be Located in French and Serbian : the Role of Fictive Motion in the Expression of Static Location

Abstract : The general aim of this paper is to explore different ways of expressing static location in French and Serbian. Both languages use three main types of locative predicates: neutral verbs (e.g. FR. être 'to be'), posture verbs (e.g. ENG. to sit, to lie, to stand) and verbs expressing fictive motion, i.e. verbs whose reference is to motion but which actually describe static situations (e.g. The road descends towards the coast) (Talmy 2000). In this study, based on a large contrastive corpus of expressions of static location in French and Serbian novels, we compare the role that these different types of locative predicates play in each language. We point out that Serbian uses the posture verbs much more extensively by locating both animate and inanimate Figures, and that the limited use of posture verbs in French (with only animate Figures) makes fictive motion more salient. Finally, we show how such cross-linguistic differences in attention to fictive motion affect human spatial cognition. Our analysis adopts the framework of Talmy's typology, which opposes Verb-framed languages (e.g. French, Turkish) to Satellite-framed languages (e.g. Serbian, English) (cf. Talmy 2000) and discusses the validity of the distinction between "high-manner-salient" and "low-manner-salient" languages for the domain of static location (cf. Slobin 2004). By assuming that posture verbs are static equivalents of manner of motion verbs (e.g. to run, to walk)--as suggested by M. Lemmens (2002a, 2002b, 2005) --, we argue that, in the domain of static location (as well as in the domain of motion), Satellite-framed languages (e.g. Serbian) pay more attention to the expression of manner than Verb-framed languages (e.g. French).
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Dejan Stosic, Laure Sarda. The Many Ways to be Located in French and Serbian : the Role of Fictive Motion in the Expression of Static Location. M. Brala Vukovic & L. Gruic Grmusa. Space and Time in Language and Literature, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.39-60, 2009. ⟨halshs-00482170⟩

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