The expression of non-actual motion in Swedish, French and Thai
Dynamic descriptions of static spatial situations, such as the road goes through the forest have attracted a lot of attention across different semantic theories. Analyses in terms of fictive motion and subjective motion have proposed that such expressions are strongly motivated by universal cognitive and conceptual factors. I present theoretical arguments for the conflation of several different motivations in the literature. Instead of a single general motivation, three distinct experiential motivations are presented under the term non-actual motion. These experiential motivations are used to design an elicitation tool for investigating non-actual motion cross-linguistically. Elicited descriptions from speakers of Swedish, French and Thai suggest that such descriptions are conventionalized in all three languages, which supports the universal character of non-actual motion across languages. However, in expressing non-actual motion, the language-specific resources for expressing actual motion are used.
Published in: Cognitive linguistics, 10.1515/cog-2015-0025, De Gruyter
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