Chapter published in:Broader Perspectives on Motion Event Descriptions
Edited by Yo Matsumoto and Kazuhiro Kawachi
[Human Cognitive Processing 69] 2020
► pp. 235–280
Looking into visual motion expressions in Dutch, English, and French
How languages stick to well-trodden typological paths
This study investigates visual motion expressions in Dutch, English, and French. As a translation corpus, I use Roald Dahl’s children’s book The Witches, which abounds in staring and peeping events, and its Dutch and French translations. Based on the hypothesis that languages’ constructional repertoires for physical motion are exploited for visual motion, one can predict, correctly, that Dutch uses its syntactically wide variety of path complement types in the domain of visual motion. It is tempting to assume that French, lacking looking verbs expressing path, would lose its generally verb-framed nature in visual motion descriptions. However, French appears to preserve some of its typological identity, by using causative path verbs such as lever ‘raise’ combined with an object meaning ‘one’s eyes/gaze’. In keeping with its verb-framed nature, French uses fewer visual path complements than Dutch and English, but it does have, and frequently uses, manner-of-vision expressions.
Keywords: manner, path, satellite-framed, translation, verb-framed
Published online: 11 August 2020
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