Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet


From physical to metaphorical motion: A typological and genre approach to motion constructions in English and Spanish

Rosario Cabellero (U. de Castilla-La Mancha) & Iraide Ibarretxe-Antunano (U. de Zarazoga)

Talmy (1991, 2000) classifies languages into verb-framed and satellite-framed types according to how the Path of a motion event is codified. Their differences are reflected in the online use of language, whereby speakers of verb-framed and satellite-framed languages appear to exhibit different rhetorical styles when describing the same motion event (Slobin 1996). Most research on the topic has focused on physical motion events and, to a lesser extent, on fictive and metaphorical motion. However, the former has basically focused on narratives, and the latter has too often used decontextualized examples in order to back up their claims. Consequently, the impact of context (topic, participants, purpose, etc.) on the use of metaphorical motion expressions is somewhat lost –even if it may well impinge upon the typological differences among languages. In this talk, we first review previous work on physical motion within the research project MoVeS and then move to describing fictive motion cases in genre-specific texts in English and Spanish. Using a 600,000-word corpus comprising tennis, wine and architecture reviews written in these two languages, we explore whether (a) the lexicalization and rhetorical differences between Spanish and English discussed in the motion literature are sustained in genres other than narratives, and (b) the idiosyncrasy of those genres has any typological implications and, at the same time, affects the expressions’ creativity and expressiveness.