Complementation in english and spanish possessive verbs. Cognitive and contrastive study


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Villamil Touriño, Asunción (2003) Complementation in english and spanish possessive verbs. Cognitive and contrastive study. In 8th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, 20-25 July 2003, Logroño, La Rioja. (Submitted)

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This paper will study a corpus of verbs with a possessive meaning in English and Spanish, which will illustrate some prototypical effects on their syntactic and semantic behaviour. The aim is to find a cognitive explanation for their complementation patterns (direct objects in some cases, less prototypical complements in others), taking into account than language is symbolic and in many cases motivated. As far as methodology goes, a corpus was created with possessive verbs found in articles from the newspapers El País y The Times in their digital edition (; between November 2001 and February 2002. The corpus is formed by 14 texts from each newspaper, 14 texts from each language, with 40 possessive verbs in English and 37 in Spanish. Two types of analysis will be carried out: (a) on the one hand, a semantic analysis, with an examination of the conceptualizations of the possessive meaning in the different verbs and the participants in the sentence; (b) on the other hand, a syntactic analysis, based on the study of the types of complements that follow these verbs. There are two main hypothesis previous to the study: (a) the possessive verbs of this corpus will show features of non-prototypical transitivity and (b) there will be a gradation within the same category, ranging from verbs far away from the prototype to prototypical verbs.
The main conclusions of the study confirm the aforementioned hypothesis, which are valid for both languages. In general possessive verbs are not prototypical verbs, neither on syntactic nor semantic grounds. In most of the cases they do not have as complement a direct object that can become the subject of the corresponding passive sentence, as in prototypical transitive clauses. They are not accompanied by a patient argument that is affected by the action of an agent, and they do not express an action as prototypical transitive verbs, but a relation. However, although in general the category is not a prototypical example of transitivity, there is a continuum between the different verbs in semantic and syntactic aspects. The iconicity principle is useful once more: an irregular conceptualization in semantics is expressed through irregularities in syntax, in this case, in verb complementation.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Complementation, Possessive verbs, Contrastive
Subjects:Humanities > Philology > Translating and interpreting
Humanities > Philology > English philology
ID Code:1473
Deposited On:12 Jan 2005
Last Modified:15 Nov 2011 11:17

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