Article published in:English Historical Linguistics 2010: Selected Papers from the Sixteenth International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL 16), Pécs, 23-27 August 2010
Edited by Irén Hegedűs and Alexandra Fodor
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 325] 2012
► pp. 327–346
“No man entreth in or out”
How are typologically unsuitable loanverbs integrated into English?
English motion verbs typically encode the manner of motion (e.g. run, walk, cf. e.g. Talmy 2000: 27, Slobin 2004). This raises the question of how French- and Latin-borrowed motion-verbs such as enter, descend, that express the path of motion and therefore are typologically ‘unsuitable’ for English, are integrated into this language. Based on a detailed analysis of the occurrences of enter in PPCME2 and CEECS, and drawing on ideas from studies in second language acquisition and cognitive linguistics, it will be shown that on the one hand, enter has a strong tendency to be used non-literally, i.e. for situations where the figure or goal are not concrete or visually perceivable; in its literal uses, on the other hand, it will be argued to bear additional manner-meaning. Both findings can be explained by the verb being a semantic misfit among English motion verbs. Similar usage patterns will be shown to apply to other borrowed path-verbs.
Published online: 13 November 2012