How Europeans GIVE

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This study investigates how ten European languages from the Germanic, Romance and Slavic groups divide the semantic space of giving. The study is based on exemplars of events of giving extracted from two very different parallel corpora: Bible translations and film subtitles. This probabilistic exemplar-based approach allows for integration of the postclassical categorization models and semantic typology. The analyses show that there was more cross-linguistic variation in verbalization of GIVE in the subtitles than in the Bible translations, and also more cross-linguistic variation at the level of specific verbs than at the level of more abstract constructions. Moreover, there were significant associations between the constructional and lexical ways of expressing GIVE in all languages in the sample. Finally, the way these ten languages cut the semantic space of GIVE conforms to the genetic relationships between them only at the level of specific verbs, but not at the more abstract and iconic constructional level of categorization.


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