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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 24, 2015

Framing the difference between sources and goals in Change of Possession events

A corpus-based study in German and Modern Greek

Thanasis Georgakopoulos and Athina Sioupi


This paper investigates the hypothesis of the preference of Goals over Sources in the representation of Change of Possession events. Applying a corpus- based methodology, we analyse two verbs belonging to this event type, namely BUY and SELL, in German and Modern Greek, two languages that differ with respect to the patterns they use to encode motion events (i.e. a Satelliteand a Verb-framed language respectively). We find that both languages conform to the general tendency reported across languages to give prominence to the Goal: SELL is more likely to occur with the optional Goal Prepositional Phrase than BUY is with the optional Source Prepositional Phrase. Additionally, we address the question as to whether languages showing different patterns regarding the encoding of the Path differ with respect to the predominance of the Goal over the Source in events that express non-prototypical dislocation. Our findings indicate that the typological difference of the two languages has an indirect effect on the representation of Path elements for these particular verbs: German expresses the optional Prepositional Phrase (the TO- and the FROM-Phrase) more often than Greek, the critical factor for the observed difference being the Goal optional element in German (the TO-Phrase). Therefore, we conclude that the degree of robustness of the Goal bias is higher in German than it is in Greek.

Published Online: 2015-11-24
Published in Print: 2015-11-27

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston