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Spatial and temporal boundedness in English motion events

Abstract : This study examines how reference to spatial boundaries can make speakers of English represent or understand a motion event as temporally bounded. Spatial boundaries can be implied by (a) the path expressed by a directional item, (b) the so-called ''landmark'' [Langacker, Ronald W., 1987. Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, vol. I: Theoretical Perspectives. Stanford University Press, Stanford.] serving as 'support' for the path, and (c) the moving entity. Importantly, one and the same entity in the real world can also be conceptualized as either primarily delimited (bounded) or extended (nonbounded). After setting the stage with an example (Section 1) and dealing with some important terminological preliminaries (Section 2), we take a closer look at the concept of boundaries (Section 3). We then set up a four-way classification of directional prepositions in English (Section 4), based on whether they refer to a path that is extended and, if so, on whether that path is specified or not for having or lacking an end-boundary. In the subsequent Sections (5-7), we zoom in on the aspectual role played by adverbial particles, on the possible influence of the object NP of directional prepositions, and briefly on the role played by the NP referring to the moving entity. The most important findings of this study are summarized in Section 8.
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Contributor : Bert Cappelle <>
Submitted on : Friday, February 10, 2012 - 3:12:08 PM
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Bert Cappelle, Renaat Declerck. Spatial and temporal boundedness in English motion events. Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2005, 37 (6), pp.889-917. ⟨10.1016/j.pragma.2004.10.012⟩. ⟨hal-00660399⟩



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