Verbs of aquamotion: semantic domains and lexical systems

Yury Lander, Timur Maisak and Ekaterina Rakhilina

in Motion Encoding in Language and Space

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661213
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745348 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Language and Space

Verbs of aquamotion: semantic domains and lexical systems

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The current chapter elaborates on an approach which aims at the cross-linguistic comparison of lexical domains or (sub)systems. This approach is based on distinguishing among semantic domains which can be said to occur across languages and which are useful and relevant from a typological perspective. We illustrate this approach by exploring the conceptualization of motion / being in liquid medium (aquamotion), within which four general domains (swimming, sailing, drifting, and floating) are recognized. Using this distinction, we propose a typology of aquamotion systems that distinguishes between ‘rich’, ‘poor’, and ‘middle’ systems of aquamotion expressions depending on the lexical contrasts that the language displays.

Keywords: motion verbs; lexical typology; aquamotion

Chapter.  6413 words. 

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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