KACL Lecture Series

#37 : Prof. Dan I. Slobin
Professor of the Graduate School
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Linguistics
University of California, Berkeley

Title: From linguistic typology to usage: How to explain crosslinguistic differences in descriptions of motion events

Date: July 2, 2005, 14:00--16:00
Place: Kobe University, 100nen kinenkan Rokko Hall (Rokkodai Campus)

Leonard Talmy’s classification of languages as “verb-framed” or “satellite-framed” has led to a large number of linguistic and psycholinguistic studies of how speakers of different languages describe, understand, perceive, and remember motion events. But as more languages are investigated, and in a greater range of discourse contexts, it has become apparent that in order to account for usage patterns in an individual language it is necessary to consider more than the typology of lexicalization and constructions. In general, Talmy’s binary typology is reflected in greater attention to manner of motion in satellite- than in verb-framed languages. However, these patterns can be altered by such factors as morphological realization of the satellite (free vs. bound morpheme), degree of reliance on inflectional morphology, word-order patterns, availability of alternate means of encoding manner (ideophones, posture verbs), and cultural preferences. Usage patterns also suggest an expansion of the typology to add a third type: “equipollently-framed.” A full model of language use will eventually have to integrate a large range of factors.

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