Colorado Research in Linguistics
Colorado Research in Linguistics -- ISSN 1937-7029

Vol 23.1 2012

Semantic Representations of English and German Motion Verbs

Katherine S. Phelps & Steve Duman

Full Paper (PDF)

It has been argued that real-world structure constrains the semantic representations of verbs, resulting in cross-linguistic convergence of naming patterns for motion events. This study explores the nature of this real-world structure by manipulating individual features of human locomotion in video stimuli and comparing the responses of English and German speakers in an elicitation task. We show that individual features influence naming patterns and that languages encode these features differently. Furthermore, the semantic representations of several German motion verbs sharply contrast with their English equivalents.

Katherine Phelps and Steve Duman are PhD students in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They can be reached at: Katherine.Phelps@Colorado.EDU and Steven.Duman@Colorado.EDU.

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Colorado Research in Linguistics is the working papers journal of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Colorado.

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