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How motion verbs are spatial: The spatial foundations of intransitive motion verbs in French

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This paper aims to bring out the spatial properties of motion eventualities by focusing on French intransitive motion verbs. After examining changes of posture and changes of placement, we introduce the concept of change of basic locative relation (J.-P. Boons 1987) in order to accurately grasp the telic processes usually characterized as changes of location. The complex combinatory possibilities as between changes of relation and changes of placement are then illustrated by pinpointing the factors that condition the use of predicates of change of placement in utterances denoting changes of relation and placement (the notion of tendenciality). Finally, a categorization of French intransitive verbs of change of relation and placement is proposed, which is based on the way these two notions interact in their semantics.

Keywords: change of basic locative relation; change of placement; direct infinitival constructions; inner aspect; motion verbs; ontology of spatial entities; par-headed PPs; path; polarity; spatio-temporal structure

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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