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Semantic granularity of placement and removal expressions in Polish

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Abstract

This chapter explores the expression of placement (or <i>Goal-oriented</i>) and removal (or <i>Source-oriented</i>) events by speakers of Polish (a West Slavic language). Its aim is to investigate the hypothesis known as &#8216;Source/Goal asymmetry&#8217; according to which languages tend to favor the expression of Goals (e.g., <i>into, onto</i>) and to encode them more systematically and in a more fine-grained way than Sources (e.g., <i>from, out of</i>). The study provides both evidence and counter-evidence for Source/Goal asymmetry. On the one hand, it shows that Polish speakers use a greater variety of verbs to convey Manner and/or mode of manipulation in the expression of placement, encoding such events in a more fine-grained manner than removal events. The expression of placement is also characterized by a greater variety of verb prefixes conveying Path and prepositional phrases (including prepositions and case markers) conveying Ground. On the other hand, the study reveals that Polish speakers attend to Sources as often as to Goals, revealing no evidence for an attentional bias toward the endpoints of events.

References

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