Edited by Michel Aurnague and Dejan Stosic
[Human Cognitive Processing 66] 2019
► pp. 142–177
Manner as a cluster concept
What does lexical coding of manner of motion tell us about manner?
The chapter deals with the lexical coding of manner of motion in French. A twofold aim is pursued: to provide a better understanding of what manner is from the semantic point of view and to determine what makes some motion verbs express manner and others not. First, I show that there are five types of linguistic devices involved in the expression of manner: lexical, syntactic, morphological, grammatical and prosodic ones. Next, I propose a more comprehensive definition of the concept of manner, arguing that it is compositional by nature and by no means monolithic. Finally, adopting Levin and Rappaport Hovav’s lexical decomposition approach, I report an in-depth semantic analysis of 562 manner of motion verbs in French and show that manner interpretation in their meaning is generated by a small set of more basic, non-idiosyncratic semantic features which fill a modifier position and whose role consists in diversifying, and thereby in modifying, the root predicate.