Article published in:Adpositions of Movement
Edited by Hubert Cuyckens, Walter De Mulder and Tanja Mortelmans
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 18] 2004
► pp. 247–270
Rethinking English ‘Prepositions of Movement’
The Case of To and Through
In this paper, we argue against the view that prepositions designate motion. We make the case for prepositions such as to and through being associated with spatial properties in addition to a functional element. The functional element arises as a consequence of our daily interaction with the spatial configuration associated with the particular preposition. While to is associated with a spatial configuration in which a TR is oriented in the direction of a LM, its functional element is that of the LM constituting the TR’s goal. Due to the integration of spatial and functional elements with sentential context, particularly motion verbs, a movement reading is derived. Previous scholars have assumed this is due to the preposition itself. With regard to through, its semantics are associated with a spatial configuration involving contiguous locations from one side of a bounded LM to the other. The functional element is that of path, which, while correlating with motion, is distinct from it. The notion of motion which often arises in sentences involving through is due to the integration of the spatial and functional character of through with other sentential prompts for movement such as motion verbs. In essence, we argue for carefully articulating the nature of conventional content associated with prepositions, including both spatio-geometric and functional content, and for teasing apart distinct and distinguishable (albeit related) concepts such as orientation, path, trajectory, goal, and motion.
Published online: 22 April 2005
Cited by 7 other publications
No author info given
Ibáñez Cerda, Sergio & Bertha Lecumberri Salazar
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