Lexicon and syntax from an emic viewpoint
Each language has its own limited inventory of constructions from which speakers have to choose when they want to communicate their conceptualizations. This paper discusses a highly productive complex figure construction (Croft 2001:326) in the Papuan language Moi, which requires a number of different translations in English. In both SVO and SOV Papuan languages perceived events are normally expressed in coordinating complex figure constructions, but can appear in figure-ground constructions when pragmatically marked. To capture the genius of a language, interlinear and free translations in descriptive grammars should signal the language-specific links between form and meaning. The conclusion discusses to what extent and under what conditions cross-linguistic comparison of emic constructions is possible.
Published online: 17 September 2008
Cited by 3 other publications
Reesink, Ger P.
Schapper, Antoinette & Lourens de Vries
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