Article published in:Source-Goal (a)symmetries across languages
Edited by Anetta Kopecka and Marine Vuillermet
[Studies in Language 45:1] 2021
► pp. 130–171
A comparative study of German and Polish
This paper compares the expression of Source and Goal in German and Polish, on the basis of descriptions elicited with a series of video clips. As satellite-framed languages (Talmy 1985, 2000), both German and Polish mainly rely on grammatical morphemes to encode Path of motion with respect to Source and Goal. Nevertheless, despite this shared typological feature, these languages also display fine morphosyntactic and semantic differences. Our study reveals that the expression of Source and Goal is more asymmetrical in German than in Polish, both in types of linguistic resources and in semantic distinctions. We show that German speakers tend to combine Path satellites with Path verbs – including both deictic satellites and deictic verbs – more frequently in Source-oriented events, depicting them with finer semantic distinctions than Goal-oriented events. In the expression of the Ground, however, they tend to make finer distinctions in the expression of Goals as compared to Sources, by using a greater variety of prepositions. Polish speakers, by contrast, tend to express Source and Goal in a more symmetrical fashion. These cross-linguistic differences are discussed in the light of language-specific characteristics and their role in the expression – symmetrical or asymmetrical – of Source and Goal.
Keywords: German, Polish, satellite-framed constructions, Path of motion, Source-oriented events, Goal-oriented events, goal-over-source principle, goal bias, Source-Goal asymmetry
Published online: 21 December 2020
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