The division of labour between posture verbs and fictive motion in the expression of static location

Abstract : By adopting the framework of the well-known Talmy's typology, which opposes Verb-framed to Satellite-framed languages (cf. Talmy 2000), we discuss the importance of different types of locative predicates in the expression of static location. The study is based on a large contrastive corpus of French, English and Serbian novels and their translations. If all three languages use, in the expression of location, neutral verbs (e.g. FR. être 'to be'), posture verbs (e.g. ENG. to sit, to lie, to stand) and fictive motion (e.g. The road descends towards the coast), they do not use in the same way these three strategies. To express static location with inanimate Figures, French uses either neutral verbs or fictive motion whereas Serbian and English can also use posture verbs. Given that French makes limited use of posture verbs, it uses fictive motion in some situations described by posture verbs in Serbian and in English. So, the lack of an extensive use of posture verbs in French seems to make fictive motion more salient. This allows us to formulate the hypothesis that there is some kind of division of labour between posture verbs and fictive motion in the expression of static location. It thus appears that the fictive motion plays more important role in French than in Serbian and English, which pays much more attention to manner of being positioned in space by using posture verbs. Comparing French with Serbian and English finally suggests that in "high-manner-salient languages" fictive motion seems to be less salient.
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Conference papers
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00982125
Contributor : Dejan Stosic <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 12:40:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 10:11:50 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-00982125, version 1

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Laure Sarda, Dejan Stosic. The division of labour between posture verbs and fictive motion in the expression of static location. Variation in the expression of space and motion within and across languages, Dec 2012, Paris, France. ⟨halshs-00982125⟩

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