Main content



Loading wiki pages...

Wiki Version:
Reflections on dynamicity and telicity with special reference to fictive motion Jens Fleischhauer & Thomas Gamerschlag Department of General Linguistics, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf {fleischhauer/gamer}   The talk focuses on the relationships between the notions of ‘dynamicity’ and ‘telicity’. Telicity is usually understood as a definite – or quantized – change of state. Since telic sentences refer to a change of state ending in a specific result state, telicity should be assumed to trivially presuppose dynamicity.  However, some change of state verbs such as German (an)steigen ‘rise, climb’ exhibit fictive motion uses which are stative while at the same time allow for modifiers indicating dynamicity and even telicity such as the time-span adverbial in kurzer Zeit ‘within short time’ in (1) below.   (1) Die Straße steigt in kurzer Zeit auf 200 Meter an.   the road rises within short time 200 meters prtcl ‘The road rises up to 200 meters within short time.’ The verb (an)steigen, which is lexically atelic, has several dynamic readings comprising a manner, a directed motion and an intensional reading (Gamerschlag et al. 2014). The fictive motion reading, illustrated in (1), however, describes a stative scenario in which the road does not literally move upwards. What is expressed instead is that the path covered by the road has an upwards slope such that the beginning of the road is located at a lower height than the end of the road. In order to deal with the coincidence of stativity and change in similar cases, Gawron (2009) provides an elaborate analysis of spatial change as opposed to temporal change which also includes the notion of ‘spatial (a)telictiy’ as a property of spatial objects (cf. also Champollion 2017). Following Gawron’s ideas Koontz-Garboden (2010) and Deo et al. (2013) propose accounts of stative uses of dynamic verbs in which the time scale/axis underlying the dynamic use is replaced by a spatial scale/axis. Although this time to space transfer analyses elegantly explain a number of properties of stative uses, including the co-occurrence of spatial modifiers, they neglect, to some extent, the persistence of the dynamic origin as part of the stative concept, a phenomenon investigated extensively in psycholinguistic research (cf. Matlock & Bergmann 2014 and the references therein). In the talk, we will propose an analysis which reflects the dynamic origin in the formal representation of fictive uses such as (2). Based on the account of the non-fictive uses of steigen by Gamerschlag et al. (2014), we will present a frame approach to fictive motion which allows for the integration of time-span adverbials and additional modifiers related to dynamicity such as schnell ‘quickly’. In regard to the example in (2), we will argue that it is spatially telic as an effect of adding the prepositional measure phrase auf 200 Meter ‘up to 200 meters’ whereas it can also be analyzed as ‘conventionally’, i.e., temporally telic as indicated by the acceptability of the time-span adverbial in kurzer Zeit ‘within short time’. More precisely, we will show that the occurrence of dynamicity-related modifiers is available only if the subject referent refers to a traversable path. Formally, this is captured by means of an affordance attribute understood in the original sense coined by Gibson (1979) as denoting “action possibilities provided to the actor by the environment.” In the case of a subject referent suited for travel we refer to the relevant attribute as travel affordance the value of which is complex and licenses travel-related (sub)attributes such as velocity, duration, difficulty, and experience which in turn allow for values contributed by adverbial modifiers such as the ones given above.   References Champollion, L. 2017. Parts of a whole: Distributivity as a bridge between aspect and measurement. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Deo, A., I. Francez & A. Koontz-Garboden. 2013. From change to value difference in degree achievements. In Proceedings of SALT 23, pp. 97–115. Dowty, David. 1979. Word meaning and Montague Grammar. Dordrecht: Reidel. Gamerschlag, T., W. Geuder & W. Petersen. 2014. Glück auf der Steiger kommt – a frame account of extensional and intensional ‘steigen’. In D. Gerland, Ch. Horn, A. Latrouite & A. Ortmann (eds.), Meaning and grammar of nouns and verbs, pp. 115–144. Düsseldorf: Düsseldorf University Press. Gawron, M. 2009. The lexical semantics of extent verbs. Ms., San Diego State University. Gibson, J.J. 1979. The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Koontz-Garboden, A. 2010. The lexical semantics of derived statives. Linguistics and Philosophy 33. 285–324. Matlock, T. & T. Bergmann. 2014. Fictive motion. In E. Dąbrowska & D. Divjak (eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, pp. 771­–790. Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton.