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Psych predicates in European languages

A parallel corpus study

  • Laura Becker EMAIL logo and Matías Guzmán Naranjo


Previous work on psych predicates has so far mostly focused on verbs and their non-canonical argument structures within and across languages. In this study, we propose a usage-based account using parallel subtitles in seven European languages in order to examine the intralinguistic and crosslinguistic variation of psychological expressions. We start out from 12 semantically defined psychological concepts rather than concrete constructions; this allows us to include verbal and non-verbal expressions and thus to assess the variation and distribution of construction types of psychological expressions found in language use. We show that while there is a high degree of variation in terms of constructions used within languages, psychological expressions are relatively stable across languages. On the other hand, we find systematic, crosslinguistic concept-specific preferences for psychological expressions.

Corresponding author: Laura Becker, Department of Linguistics, University of Freiburg, Belfortstr. 18, 79085 Freiburg, Germany, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2020-11-05
Published in Print: 2020-11-26

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