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Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association

Editor-in-Chief: Stefanowitsch, Anatol / Schoenefeld, Doris

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Go mad – come true – run dry : Metaphorical motion, semantic preference(s) and deixis

Doris Schönefeld
Published Online: 2013-12-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2013-0012


It has been suggested that the semantics of some metaphoricalmotion constructions is related to the deixis of the verbs involved. In accordance with the directions of movement, metaphorical go is said to be associated with deterioration ( go rotten etc.) and metaphorical come - with improvement ( cometrue etc (cf. Quirk et al. 1985: 1174). The paper at hand aims at empirically testing this assumption from a usage-based construction grammar perspective. It analyses metaphorical-motion constructions from the BNC whose verb-slot is filled by the motion verbs go , come and run followed by an adjective, using the methods of collostruction analysis (cf. Gries and Stefanowitsch 2004a). On the basis of the quantitative analyses carried out, the semantic preferences of the three verbs are determined, compared and related to the deictic aspects involved in the verb meanings. The verb run was selected as a ‘control verb’, since it does not exhibit any deictic aspect of meaning. All three verb constructions are found to exhibit semantic preferences, and, since deixis is absent in run , other aspects are discussed which may motivate such associations. Finally, the results of the data analyses are inspected for what they can say about the emergence of semantic prosodies ‘colouring’ the verbs in the respective constructions.

Keywords : usage-based construction grammar; metaphorical-motion constructions; deixis; collostruction analysis; semantic preference; semantic prosody

About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-18

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 215–236, ISSN (Online) 2197-2796, ISSN (Print) 2197-2788, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2013-0012.

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