A Semantic Analysis of Universal and Idiosyncratic Features of Induced Motion Verbs: From the Perspective of Language Typology
Published Online: Jan 01, 2017
This is a semantic study of causative movement verbs that have been organized into two main groups consisting of similar and contrasting features. This analysis contradicts Van Valin & LaPolla (1997) and other authors working within the Role and Reference Grammar theoretical framework such as Jolly (1991, 1993), who defends the view that causative movement verbs only respond to one Aktionsart type (that is, to one type of mode of action): causative accomplishment verbs. I demonstrate that there are also causative active accomplishment movement verbs. This distinction is supported through the different locational expressions each take. Thus, the essential role that such expressions play in the lexical decomposition of movement verbs is discussed. Also, I offer a comparative analysis of these verbs in English and Quenya. The results allow for the identification of the universal semantic features of both types of verbs; they provide evidence for the usefulness of artificial languages not only in global and cross-cultural communication, but also in the contrastive syntactic and semantic analysis of natural languages. This study has followed the semantic approach of Componential Analysis, of which the different semantic classes of verbs reflect different syntactic and semantic argument structures. This explains the direct relation between the type of verb and the type of locative argument it takes.