Motion event conflation and clause structure

Abstract

How do languages of the world refer to motion? According to one widely held view, languages draw on a pool of common ‘building blocks’ in representing motion events, such as figure and ground, path (or trajectory), manner, cause of motion, and so on (cf. Talmy, 1985). Nevertheless, individual languages differ both in the elements they select out of the available stock of motion ‘primitives’ and in the way they conflate them into specific lexical and clausal structures (Talmy, 1985; Slobin, 1996a; Choi & Bowerman, 1991; Jackendoff, 1990; and many others).

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