The many ways for a frog to leave jumping out: Evidence from an Australian language for extending Talmy’s typology of motion events
This paper presents evidence, based on my own fieldwork on the Australian language Jaminjung, for a revised and extended version of Talmy’s typology of motion expressions (Talmy 2000), with its dichotomy of “verb-framed languages” (where path is expressed as a semantic component of a motion verb) and “satellite-framed languages” (where path is expressed as a “satellite”). This typology does not account for what Slobin (2004) terms “equipollently-framed” languages, which give equal weight to the expression of manner and path. Jaminjung is mentioned in passing by Slobin (2004) as an example of an equipollent language.
Indeed, structurally, in Jaminjung (as well as in neighbouring languages), both manner and path are expressed by members of the same open word class, uninflecting “preverbs”. Verbs, in contrast, form a closed class with around 35 members, of which 7 are motion verbs. These can occur on their own as simple predicates, but may also be combined with either a manner or a path preverb, or both. The example below illustrates the last possibility: a semantically generic inflecting verb of motion (gajgany) is combined with two “preverbs”, one expressing manner (yugung), one path (walig).
jalig=malang yugung walig ga-jga-ny nu
child=GIVEN run around 3sg-go-PAST 3sg.OBL
'the child ran around for him' (to dog, in Frog Story)
By taking into account a large corpus of spoken texts, I will argue that the symmetrical treatment of manner and path in Jaminjung manifests itself not only structurally, but also in narrative style, in that both components have a roughly equal frequency of occurrence.
Slobin, D. I., 2004. The many ways to search for a frog: Linguistic typology and the expression of motion events. S. Strömqvist & L. Verhoeven (eds.), Relating events in narrative, 2: Typological and contextual perspectives. Mahwah: Erlbaum, 219-257.
Talmy, L., 2000. Lexicalization patterns. In Toward a cognitive semantics, 2: Typology and process in concept structuring. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 21-146.