Chapter published in:Broader Perspectives on Motion Event Descriptions
Edited by Yo Matsumoto and Kazuhiro Kawachi
[Human Cognitive Processing 69] 2020
► pp. 181–204
Attraction of attention in perceived motion events weighed against typology and cognitive cost
An experimental study of French
This chapter explores construction types and the frequency of the use of optional syntactic elements in French motion descriptions. In Talmy’s typology on Satellite- vs. Verb-framed languages, French is characterized as using the construction type of verb-framed languages for motion events, and according to his principles on the correlation between the fore- and backgroundedness of semantic components of motion and the cognitive cost of expressing them, manner and other concepts are expected to occur less frequently in foregrounded positions outside of the main verb than in backgrounded position in the main verb. This chapter shows, through an experimental method, that facts in French are more complex, and that the attraction of attention in perceived motion events has an impact on the choice of construction types and motivates manner and deixis to be expressed more frequently in optional syntactic elements under certain circumstances than Talmy’s principles would predict.
Keywords: foregrounding and backgrounding, frequency, main verb, optional syntactic elements
Published online: 11 August 2020
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submitted. What does deixis tell us about motion typology? Linguistic or cultural variations of speaker’s relations to perceived physical events.
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