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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 19, Issue 4 (Jan 2008)


Manner of motion saliency: An inquiry into Italian

Filippo-Enrico Cardini
  • Corresponding author
  • Lancaster University
Published Online: 2008-11-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COGL.2008.021


The present study reports the findings of an empirical investigation aimed at testing how salient the domain of manner of motion is in Italian. Hitherto, Italian has been as sumed to be low-manner-salient simply on the grounds that it is a Romance language. But differently from languages such as French or Spanish, for example, hardly any empirical evidence has been produced that can prove the validity of that assumption. In this study, the degree of manner of motion saliency in Italian has been investigated by contrasting it to that exhibited by a typical high-manner-salient language, namely English, which has been extensively studied from this point of view. The investigation consisted of: (a) a dictionary-based lexical survey aimed at comparing the number of Italian manner of motion verbs with that of English; (b) experimental trials with Italian and English native speakers, aimed at measuring the manner of motion salience manifest in their linguistic behaviour. The experimental work with speakers involved three tests of “ease of lexical access”, intended to establish how quickly speakers can retrieve manner of motion verbs from memory, and one test on “spontaneous narration”, designed to test the frequency with which manner of motion verbs are used during free speech. The results of the study provide the first empirical evidence that Italian does indeed show typical traits of low-manner-salience.

Keywords:: manner of motion semantics; manner of motion salience; Italian

About the article

Author's e-mail: 〈 〉.

Received: 2006-12-18

Revised: 2008-02-24

Published Online: 2008-11-20

Published in Print: 2008-11-01

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COGL.2008.021. Export Citation

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