A cross-linguistic overview of 'eat' and 'drink'

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This chapter provides an overview of the range of linguistic properties associated with ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ verbs across languages and serves as an introduction to the whole volume. The chapter covers the lexicalization of these concepts and the syntax associated with ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ constructions. Figurative extensions of ‘eat’ and ‘drink’ constructions are common, in some languages even prolific, and have their sources in the simultaneous but distinct aspects of the acts of eating and drinking: the sensation of the consumer while ingesting and the destruction or disappearance of the entity consumed. These dual aspects of ingestion are relevant, too, when it comes to motivating the atypical kinds of transitive constructions found with these verbs in some languages. Grammaticalizations of ‘eat’ and ‘drink’, though not particularly common, do occur and are also reviewed here.


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