Publication details [#10884]

Tyler, Andrea and Vyvyan Evans. 2001. Reconsidering prepositional polysemy networks: The case of 'over'. Modern Foreign Languages 77 (4) : 724–765. 42 pp.
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Tyler and Evans start from the basic sense (or proto-image) of a lexical item, which in the case of 'over' is static, i.e. "higher than and proximate to". In the context of dynamic verbs, this basic sense is extended into dynamic senses, presupposing a motion along an arc from A to a higher point B and ending in a terminal point C. But this trajectory itself is not part of the meaning of 'over'. Still, it is presupposed to allow pragmatic inferences as to locations on this trajectory, including its terminal point and the whole of the arc. In contrast to Lakoff (1987), the authors only accept a limited number of main senses. If we add 'over' 's basic sense of "higher than and proximate to" to their list of five clusters of senses, Tyler and Evans see six main senses. In order to visualize these senses, the authors present clear diagrams. In addition to the basic sense, a first extension describes the whole trajectory ABC; the second takes the motion to the end-point as its focus; the third cluster of senses extends the basic sense in vertical direction; the fourth cluster metaphorizes "the higher than" or UP element and the fifth cluster exploits the mental motion back from the starting point of the trajectory. Where the authors' and Lakoff's approaches differ most, however, is (1) in their conception of the static/dynamic nature of prepositions/particles, (2 )in the overall number of senses, and (3) in the systematic links between these senses. (Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans)