Lexical and structural cues for acquiring motion verbs cross-linguistically

Abstract

Languages differ systematically in how they map path and manner of motion onto lexical and grammatical structures (Talmy, 1985). Manner languages (e.g., English, German and Russian) typically code manner in the verb (cf. English skip, run, hop, jog), and path in a variety of other devices such as particles (out), adpositions (into the room), verb affixes, etc. Path languages (e.g., Modern Greek, Romance, Turkish, Japanese and Hebrew) typically code path in the verb (cf. Greek vjeno ‘exit’, beno ‘enter’, ftano ‘reach’, aneveno ‘ascend’, diashizo ‘cross’), and manner in adverbials (trexontas ‘running’, me ta podia ‘on foot’, jrigora ‘quickly’). The distinction is not meant to imply that the relevant languages lack certain kids of verb altogether. For instance, English has path verbs, such as enter, exit, ascend and descend, and Greek has manner verbs, such as treho ‘run’, kilao..

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