Verbs of letting in Germanic and Romance languages
A quantitative investigation based on a parallel corpus of film subtitles
This study compares eleven verbs of letting in six Germanic and five Romance languages. The aim of this paper is to pinpoint the differences and similarities in the semasiological variation of these verbs, both across and within the two language groups they represent. The results of a Multidimensional Scaling analysis based on a parallel corpus of film subtitles show that the verbs differ along several semantic dimensions, such as letting versus leaving, factitive versus permissive causation, as well as modality and discourse function. Although the main differences between the verbs lend themselves to a genealogical interpretation (Germanic vs. Romance), a distributional analysis of constructional patterns in which the verbs occur reveals that these differences are in fact distributed areally, with a centre and a periphery.
Keywords: parallel corpora, film subtitles, Multidimensional Scaling, letting, Correspondence Analysis, distributional semantics, Romance/Germanic
Published online: 10 March 2016
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