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Ways of looking: Lexicalizing visual paths in verbs

Wnuk, E; (2021) Ways of looking: Lexicalizing visual paths in verbs. Journal of Linguistics 10.1017/S0022226721000086. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The packaging of meaning in verbs varies widely across languages since verbs are free to encode different aspects of an event. At the same time, languages tend to display recurrent preferences in lexicalization, e.g. verb-framing vs. satellite-framing in motion. It has been noted, however, that the lexicalization patterns in motion are not carried over to the domain of vision, since gaze trajectory (‘visual path’) is coded outside the main verb even in verb-framed languages. This ‘typological split’ (Matsumoto 2001), however, is not universal. This article contains the first extensive report of verb-framing in the domain of vision based on data from Maniq (Austroasiatic, Thailand). The verbs are investigated using a translation questionnaire and a picture-naming task, which tap into subtle semantic detail. Results suggest the meanings of the verbs are shaped by universal constraints linked to earth-based verticality and bodily mechanics, as well as local factors such as the environment and the cultural scenarios of which looking is a salient part. A broader look across the whole Maniq verb lexicon reveals further cases of verbally encoded spatial notions and demonstrates a pervasive cross-domain systematicity, pointing to the language system itself as an important shaping force in lexicalization.

Type: Article
Title: Ways of looking: Lexicalizing visual paths in verbs
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0022226721000086
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022226721000086
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: fictive motion, lexicalization pattern, path, systematicity, verbs of perception, verb semantics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10124709
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