Motion event descriptions in Swedish, French, Thai and Telugu: a study in post-Talmian motion event typology

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Motion-event typology has moved into a “post-Talmian” terrain of approaches focusing on an open-ended number of patterns across languages and construc- tions. Following a proposal to distinguish between four typological clusters, we systematically compared the motion event descriptions in four languages suggested to exemplify these clusters: Swedish, French, Thai and Telugu, with the help of an elicitation-based study. 20 adult native speakers of each lan- guage were asked to describe 52 motion events, 38 of which were translocative. The stimuli varied with respect to the parameters caused/uncaused, bounded/ unbounded motion as well as the viewpoint from which they were filmed. The descriptions were analyzed following Holistic Spatial Semantics and compared with respect to the categories Path, Direction, Region, Landmark, Manner and Cause, as well as the means of expressing these. The four languages patterned differently in significant ways. In terms of Path expression, French lagged behind the other languages, but with respect to Direction, it patterned together with Swedish. We demonstrate a number of such criss-crossing patterns, show- ing that there is no way to group the languages, thus implying at least four distinct typological prototypes. Further, we show that different kinds of motion situations, corresponding to different constructions, need to be compared separately.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Göteborgs universitet

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik


Sidor (från-till)58-90
TidskriftActa Linguistica Hafniensia
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2021
Peer review utfördJa