Comparative lexicology and the typology of event descriptions: A programmatic study

Abstract : In this contribution we propose a framework for the cross-linguistic comparison of verbal meanings (event descriptions) and their lexicalization patterns which is more of the second type distinguished above, insofar as it focuses on differences in the degrees of semantic differentiations made in specific domains of meaning. The central questions to be addressed are the following: What aspects or components of verbal meanings are typically lexicalized across languages? What differentiations are found, and what types of generalizations we can make? The study is programmatic insofar as it points out possible avenues for future typological research, rather than presenting well-founded cross-linguistic generalizations. We start with some theoretical background assumptions that are needed for a lexical typology of verb meanings (Section 2). In Sections 3 and 4, we present some case studies, i.e., comparisons of verbal inventories for the domains of eating and drinking (Section 3), and for verbs of physical impact (Section 4), i.e., verbs of killing, beating and cutting. Section 5 contains some thoughts on possible explanations for the patterns and limits of variation that we can observe. Section 6 contains a summary and the conclusions.
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Volker Gast, Ekkehard König, Claire Moyse-Faurie. Comparative lexicology and the typology of event descriptions: A programmatic study. Meaning and Grammar of Nouns and Verbs, Düsseldorf university press, pp.145-183, 2014, Studies in Language and Cognition. ⟨halshs-01477353⟩

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