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Grammatical metonymy within the 'action' frame in English and Spanish

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Abstract

On the basis of Cognitive Model Theory, this chapter develops a number of explanatory tools – in the domains of conceptual prominence and of constraints on conceptual mappings – that prove useful in dealing systematically with similarities and differences among related grammatical phenomena, both within and across languages. The adequacy of these tools is particularly evident in the contrastive study of the different variants of the English inchoative and middle constructions and corresponding forms of the Spanish reflex passive. The analysis reveals that some of the different conceptual strategies in the two languages are the result of general grammatical features that place constraints on conceptual structure and thereby cue different forms of metonymic activation capable of conveying a comparable range of meaning implications. The chapter thus claims that high-level metonymy is a motivating factor for linguistic structure and realization strategies and that accounting for the intricacies of such strategies would be impossible without an adequate understanding of some of the central features of cognitive modelling.

References

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