Motion expression in French: typological diversity

Stéphanie Pourcel, Anetta Kopecka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper offers a detailed description of lexicalisation patterns for the expression of motion available in French. By doing so, it brings to the fore patterns unaccounted for in the existing literature (e.g. Talmy 1985, 1991) and thus proposes to re-examine Talmy’s famous typology for motion in the light of these new findings. Such a presentation aims at documenting the linguistic complexity present in French usage for a better understanding of motion in language, and for wider applications in cognitive explanations linked to the domain of motion. Based on the variability of patterns reported, we suggest that a structural understanding alone of lexicalisation patterns – possibly in any domain – is insufficient to provide a thoroughly reliable framework of linguistic analysis and predictability. Instead, we propose to restore the focus on the study of meaning back to the centre stage of cognitive linguistic understanding by showing how crucially deterministic semantics and pragmatics are to lexicalisation patterns of a syntactic nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-153
Number of pages15
JournalDurham & Newcastle working papers in linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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