Volume 32, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Each language has its own limited inventory of constructions from which speakers have to choose when they want to communicate their conceptualizations. This paper discusses a highly productive complex figure construction (Croft 2001:326) in the Papuan language Moi, which requires a number of different translations in English. In both SVO and SOV Papuan languages perceived events are normally expressed in coordinating complex figure constructions, but can appear in figure-ground constructions when pragmatically marked. To capture the genius of a language, interlinear and free translations in descriptive grammars should signal the language-specific links between form and meaning. The conclusion discusses to what extent and under what conditions cross-linguistic comparison of emic constructions is possible.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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