Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics (Nov 2011)

Motion verbs and the expression of directed motion in English

  • Ruxandra Drăgan

Journal volume & issue
Vol. XIII, no. 2
pp. 73 – 90


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Two commonly-held assumptions in the literature on the Goal of Motion construction in English are, on the one hand, that there is a clear-cut distinction between verbs of inherently directed motion and manner-of-motion verbs regarding their semantics, in that the former include Path and the latter, Manner in their semantic make-up, and that affects the way in which they express motion to/towards a Goal (by combining with an obligatory/optional directional PP), and, on the other hand, that manner-of-motion verbs freely participate in the Goal of Motion construction. The present article challenges these assumptions and proposes that motion verbs in English form a continuum (a Directionality Squish) along which they range from those that always express directed motion to those that never do so.