Cristina Real (UAB): "Variation in the expression of motion events: towards a unified approach"

Sala María Moliner

This paper explores the famous classification of languages according their lexicalization of motion events, established by Talmy. According to Talmy (2000) languages can be classified in satellite or verb framed languages depending on where the path is lexicalised. A classical example of verb-framed language is Spanish, and all Romance languages in general, because they lexicalise Path and Motion into the verb (1). In these languages, an inherent directional verb is required to convey directed motion, expressing optionally manner of motion through adjunction (1)b. On the contrary, satellite framed languages express manner and motion in the verb and path through a satellite (2) (Examples from Talmy 2000).

(1) Spanish expressions of Motion with conflation of Path.
      a. La botella entró a la cueva flotando
       the bottle moved-in to the cave (floating)
       'the bottle floated into the cave'
      b. La botella salió de la cueva flotando
       the bottle moved-out from the cave (floating)
       'The bottle floated out of the cave'
      c. *La botella flotó a la cueva
       the bottle floated to the cave

(2) Move+manner conflation patterns in English
      a. The rock rolled down the hill
      b. The bottle floated into the cave

Linguists have explained this distinction by exploring the semantic and syntactic properties of verbs and/or satellites and PPs. Works focusing on PPs have claimed that the inventory of adpositions varies across languages (Folli 2002, Tungseth 2006, Gehrke 2008, Fábregas 2007, Son 2007) and that Romance languages have been wrongly classified as verb framed languages because they do not have bounded directional prepositions, ie. goal prepositions, or have a very poor system of directional PPs. Other researchers have focused on the availability to express the event of motion, and the manner co-event within a single verbal predicate and have proposed the existence of morphological compounding rules or conflation/incorporation rules that are parameterized across languages ( Beck and Snyder, Mateu and Rigau 2010, Snyder 1995, Zubizarreta and Oh 2007).
In this work I aim to combine both types of accounts arguing that one is a consequence of the other, much more in the spirit of Mateu and Rigau’s first proposals (2002). This paper explains this distinction focusing on the particular properties of prepositions across languages. Assuming a cartographic theory of PPs in line with den Dikken (2003, 2006), I establish that Romance directional PPs are defective and do not project a full-fledged functional domain. Directional PPs then are always bare in the complement position of the verb in these languages, forcing incorporation of the directional preposition and preventing manner incorporation, since adjunction of the root to the complex V-P is disallowed by a general condition on adjunction. I propose then that structure of (4) with an adjoined root will be deviant since PDIR will get unlicensed. On the contrary, in Germanic the structure in (5) will be a well-formed sentence, since PDIR gets licensed internally and incorporation into the verb is not forced. As a consequence, manner incorporation, that is, root adjunction into the aspectual light verb, can take place.

(3) V [PP PDIR [CP C[PLACE] … [PP PLOC DP]]]]]]

(4) *V- R- PDIR[PP <PDIR> ...]

(5) V-R [CP C[PATH] … [PP PDIR ...]]

Furthermore, I will discuss a cross-linguistic difference in the behavior of locative prepositions in goal of motion constructions between Germanic and Romance: while directional readings of locative Germanic prepositions require a strong local verbal relation (Thomas 2001, Gehrke 2008, Tungseth 2006), Romance locative prepositions can move freely, preserving directional readings. In this paper I attribute this effect to the properties of locative prepositions in these two linguistic families: in Romance locative prepositions are complete, while in the Germanic examples analysed in this work are bare.
The proposal put forth here gives a unified account to Talmy’s lexicalization patterns and points out to a relation between the defectivity in the inventory of Romance prepositions (Son 2007, Fábregas 2007) and the lack of a manner component in motion events (Mateu and Rigau 2002): Romance Prepositions cannot denote a bounded Path since PDIR is always incorporated into the verb. At the same time P incorporation prevents the presence of manner in the expression of goal of motion events.

Selected References
Fábregas, Antonio (2007). «The exhaustive lexicalization principle». In Tromsø Working Papers on Language and Linguistics: Nordlyd 34.2.
Folli, Raffaella (2002). Constructing Telicity in English and Italian. University of Oxford, doctoral dissertation.
Folli, Raffaella; Ramchand Gillian (2005). «Prepositions and results in Italian and English: Analysis from event decomposition». In H. Verkuyl, H. de Swart, and A. van Hout, Perspectives on Aspect. Dordrecht: Springer, pp, 81–105.
Gehrke, Berit (2008). Ps in motion: On the semantics and syntax of P elements and motion verbs. Utrecht University, doctoral dissertation.
Mateu, Jaume; Rigau, Gemma (2002). «A minimalist account of conflation processes: Parametric variation at the lexicon-syntax interface». In Artemis Alexiadou (ed.), Theoretical Approaches to Universals. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 211-236.
Mateu, Jaume; Rigau, Gemma (2010). «Verb-particle constructions in Romance: A lexical-syntactic account». Probus 22 (2), 241–269.
Son, Minjeong (2007). «Directionality and Resultativity: The Cross-linguistic Correlation Revisited». Nordlyd 34.2., 126-164.
Svenonius, Peter (2006). «The emergence of axial parts». In Nordlyd 33, 1 – 22.
Talmy, Leonard (2000). Toward a Cognitive Semantics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Tungseth, Mae (2006). Verbal Prepositions in Norwegian: Paths, Places and Possession. Tromsø University, doctoral dissertation.
Zubizarreta, María Luisa; Oh, Eunjeong (2007). On the Syntactic Composition of Manner and Motion. Linguistic Inquiry Monographs. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.