Article published in:Conceptualizations of Time
Edited by Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk
[Human Cognitive Processing 52] 2016
► pp. 27–42
Situating Events in Language
It is currently acknowledged that events constitute an integral part of the metaphysics and semantic machinery for interpreting natural language utterances (Davidson 1967, 1980). Most research into event semantics since Davidson and Parsons (Parsons 1990) has focused on questions relating to either aspectual classifications (Akstionsarten) or temporal semantics. One area that has received far less attention is the issue of event localization, that is, the problem of spatially situating events. In this paper, I discuss the procedures for identifying where events, as expressed in natural language, are located in space. Aspects of the semantics of event localization have been recently proposed, including the notion of the “shape” of a movement (Eschenbach et al. 1999; Zwarts 2006), as well as treating movement verbs as “path creation” predicates (Pustejovsky and Moszkowicz 2011). In this paper, I build on these and some additional observations to outline a more general semantics of event localization. I then outline a procedure that extends the path metaphor used for motion predicates, distinguishing between the event locus and the spatial aspect of an event. In the process, I discuss how localization is supervenient upon the participants in the events, but not as straightforwardly as one might expect.
Keywords: spatial language, event semantics, qualitative spatial reasoning
Published online: 14 June 2016
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