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A syntactic-semantic analysis of motion verbs in Croatian from a diachronic perspective


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Cikač, Ivica. (2017). A syntactic-semantic analysis of motion verbs in Croatian from a diachronic perspective. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Linguistics.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij lingvistike) [mentor Raffaelli, Ida and Žic Fuchs, Milena].

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Field of research This dissertation sets to explore the syntactic-semantic architecture of motion verbs in Croatian. Based on the framework of cognitive and construction grammar, we depart from the notion of motion events (in line with Langacker 1987, Talmy 2003, Zlatev et. al. 2006) and analyze motion verbs from a syntactic and semantic point of view. Based on their syntacticsemantic characterization, we propose a new classification system of motion verbs that relies on macrocomponents and basic semantic components. Following the synchronic analysis of motion verbs examined in the first part of this work, we further elaborate the results by examining diachronic processes that motivated the synchronic setup of motion verbs. The data is viewed and revised both from a cognitive point of view, as well as from constructionist perspective that examines the way constructions build various senses of motion verbs from a diachronic perspective. Motivation and goals As a consequence of relative scarceness of works that deal with motion and verbs that encode motion with reference to the Croatian language (notwithstanding the seminal work by Žic-Fuchs 1991), we examine motion verbs in Croatian from various standpoints and aim to address the following issues: The first aim of this work is to propose a classification system of motion verbs in Croatian. This aim implies the hypothesis that by combining basic tenets of cognitive and construction grammar we might formulate a well-defined classification system that leads to new insights into the organization of the Croatian lexicon. This is emphasized by the following objective which consists of evaluating the compatibility of the mentioned theoretical models. The underlying hypothesis consequent to this objective is that the analysis of motion verbs will show that cognitive and constructionist models are to a certain extent compatible in their basic propositions. As mentioned previously, this analysis will be divided into two parts; one that examines motion verbs from a synchronic point of view, and the second part which views the synchronic data from diachronic perspective. Thus, the third aim of this work consists of examining the proposed classification system of motion verbs from a diachronic perspective. As a suggested hypothesis, it is implied that diachronic analysis might yield novel insights in the diachronic architecture of motion verbs. Finally, our last goal concerns the syntactic aspect of this work. In other words, we will investigate the extent to which syntactic features of motion verbs play a role in the syntactic-semantic organization of motion verbs. In line with previous aims, the underlying hypothesis predicts that diachronic analysis will confirm the importance of examining syntactic features of verbs with respect to the classification system of motion verbs. Theoretical and methodological framework The theoretical groundwork relies on the framework pertinent to cognitive and construction grammar. Some of the basic tenets underlying our analysis involve encyclopedic nature of meaning, usage-based analysis framework and the recognition of interface between syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships (Žic-Fuchs 1991, 2009). The first part of this work dedicated to synchronic analysis elaborates a definition of motion which is refined and formulated with regard to the notion of motion event (Langacker 1987, Talmy 2003), and which leads to the elaboration of our model that is harmonized with both cognitive and constructionist models. As the main difference between the two models that is relevant for our analysis, we point out (in line with Žic Fuchs 2009) that constructivist model recognizes the importance of grammatical form for a complete definition of symbolic structures, which reflects on our analysis in terms of distinguishing the importance of both paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations. The methodological background of this work relies on the postulates of usage-based model (Kemmer and Barlow 2000). Our synchronic model of analysis draws data from electronic online corpora (hrWaC, HNK), whereas in the second part dedicated to diachronic analysis we collect data both from electronic corpora (hrWaC, HNK, Riznica) as well as lexicographic (Rječnik JAZU, etc.) and literary sources. Following the definition of verbs of motion, this dissertation suggests a synchronicbased verb classification that is based on macrocomponents of 'path' and 'manner of motion', which are in turn further analyzed through basic semantic components ('trajector-landmark relationship', 'medium of motion', 'speed of motion' and 'manner of locomotion'). Our analysis observes semantic attributes of motion events (such as those inherent to trajectors or landmarks) as well as syntactic attributes of motion events that are constructed around verbs of motion (i.e. intransitive, pseudotransitive and transitive structures). Furthermore, we explore the notion of generic verbs of motion and recognize the status of three generic verbs (go, come and run). Our analysis of motion events and their components leads to a synchronically-based classification system which is further examined in the second part of the dissertation from a diachronic perspective. The second part of the work which is centered on diachronic analysis revolves around the theoretical tenets pertaining to the cognitive model as proposed by Geeraerts (1997) or Raffaelli (2009). The analytical model of verbs-of-motion analysis is further elaborated in this part by means of viewing motion verbs as polysemous lexemes. Also, several constructions are posited and analyzed as monosemous or polysemous structures with regard to their diachronic dynamics. Results The outcomes of this dissertation recognize motion verbs as a well-defined and wellformed semantic field characterized by flexible boundaries (in line with cognitive view of categorization processes). Furthermore, the classification system is confirmed as diachronically stable. Our analysis suggests constructions as an important factor for classification and description of the syntactic-semantic setup of verbs due to the fact that we recognized them as an essential factor that lies behind the diachronic formation of certain senses of motion verbs. Finally, the analysis has confirmed the compatibility of cognitive and constructionist theoretical tenets related to the organization of lexicon, which is revealed by our analysis and classification of motion verbs in Croatian.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive linguistics, cognitive grammar, construction grammar, verbs of motion, synchrony and diachrony, pseudo-transitivity, categorization, motion event, polysemy, construction
Subjects: Linguistics
Departments: Department of Linguistics
Supervisor: Raffaelli, Ida and Žic Fuchs, Milena
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij lingvistike
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 13:00
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2017 13:00

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