Language-specific encoding of placement events in gestures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This study focuses on the effect of the semantics of placement verbs on placement event representations. Specifically, it explores to what extent the semantic properties of habitually used verbs guide attention to certain types of spatial information. French, which typically uses a general placement verb (mettre, 'put'), is contrasted with Dutch, which uses a set of fine-grained
(semi-)obligatory posture verbs (zetten, leggen, 'set/stand', 'lay'). Analysis of the concomitant gesture production in the two languages reveals a patterning toward two distinct, languagespecific event representations. The object being placed is an essential part of the Dutch representation, while French speakers instead focus only on the (path of the) placement movement. These perspectives permeate the entire placement domain regardless of the actual verb used.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics


  • Dutch, crosslinguistic differences, event representation, gesture, caused motion, placement, French
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvent representation in language and cognition
EditorsJürgen Bohnemeyer, Eric Pederson
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)978 0 521 89834 8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Linguistics and Phonetics (015010003)