Adpositions of Movement
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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This paper argues that the distribution of the prepositions in and on suggests that they are unable to express direction and can only indicate the goal in certain specific contexts, often those in which the direction is expressed by the verb. This analysis of in and on is in direct contradiction to previous analyses of PP that have assumed that these prepositions can be both locative and directional. The significance of the distribution of in and on for analyses of the syntax of PP is discussed. Distributional facts suggest that while into and onto must be regarded as prepositions of movement and PP as an independent domain of telicity, in and on are not themselves prepositions of movement but rather can only have a goal interpretation in certain specific circumstances. An alternative account of PP is put forward whereby in and on are the surface manifestations of a syntactically atelic PP and, in those contexts where they are able to indicate the goal, this must be due to factors external to PP, probably to particular combinations of semantic features at the interpretive interface or in some cases to pragmatic or contextual factors.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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