Adpositions of Movement
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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Among their different uses, the prepositions vers ‘toward’ and contre ‘against’ can both express the spatial relation of orientation or direction between two entities (figure and ground), although they provide two different ways of presenting this relation. This study tries to show how these two prepositions operate in French and what differences they convey with regard to the interpretation of the spatial relation they encode. Vers and contre are found in similar types of syntactic construction involving the same subsets of verbs, mostly directional motion verbs. But it appears that contre involves a particular way of dealing with spatial direction as it generally expresses a physical tension between two forces (force and counterforce) opposing each other, sometimes with just a counterbalance effect but quite often resulting in rough contact (and even violent impact). Contre can then be taken as a more specialized preposition than vers, as it brings in some specific features concerning tension, opposition, and even aggressiveness.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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