Aims and Objectives

The project MovEinG explores the use of motion verbs to express experiences and events of diverse nature. These include the following:

Entities related to motion (e.g. roads, rivers, streets)

1. The road snakes to the port of Shakespeare Bay before climbing over the last hill to Picton.

Spatially extensible entities (e.g. cables, hoses)

2. A garden hose runs along the back fence.

Entities that are neither related to motion nor extensible

3. The Chinese economy will continue to leap forward while the British economy will slip down

4. Dokic sneaks through to the final of Wimbledon.

5. She slanted him a wary look, then forged ahead “I borrowed the money […] He cleared his throat and plowed forward “…” [turns of speech, conversation]

6. Her expression quickly slid into a wry smile.

7. The museum crouches among its neighbours.

8. The flavors of this wine tumble across the palate.

Together with redressing the scarce (in English) and non-existent (in Spanish) research on the use of the constructions in specific contexts such as architecture and wine communication, we tackle some issues still pending in research on figurative motion constructions:

(a) Some scholars have characterized the expressions concerning entities related to motion and those spatially extensive as metaphorical (Lakoff & Turner 1989) whereas other scholars have explained them as resulting from non-metaphorical processes of mental scanning (Langacker 1987; Matsumoto 1996; Matlock 2004), and others explain them as resulting form a ‘mixture’ of both perception and conception/cognition (e.g. Talmy’s 1996 notion of ception). Starting from a view of metaphoricity and fictivity as relative rather than absolute terms, one of the aims of the project is to explore people’s use of motion verbs to express perceptual/sensory information (e.g. in the contexts of architecture and wine) and abstract information (e.g. wins and losses in sport events, turns of speech in conversation).

(b) The abundant research on motion from a typological perspective after the work of Talmy and Slobin have characterized verb-framed languages such as Spanish as poor in their use of manner verbs in figurative (metaphorical and motion) constructions versus the customary use of manner of motion verbs in satellite-framed languages such as English. However, this research has basically dealt with de-contextualized data (e.g. experiments using the well-known Frog stories) in general discourse. In contrast, our project approaches the phenomenon from the socio-cultural perspective of genre, i.e. takes into account not only the topic at issue, but also, and most importantly, the people using the expressions and their motivation in using them, and the whole culture framing this use.

(c) A third line of research starts from these premises but applies them to the study of speech events in English and Spanish.

In short, our data problematizes some of the postulates in research on fictive and/or metaphorical motion and suggests the presence of cross-modal metaphors and metonymies.

Together with these theoretical questions, the project attempts to redress methodological and applied issues. Motion constructions are studied from the perspective of genre, i.e. taking into account what is construed metaphorically, the users of the expressions, and the characteristics of the discourses and genres where the constructions occur. The genres explored are written genres such as reviews of architecture, wine (tasting notes) and tennis reports and multimodal genres related to the real events involved with tennis, buildings and wine (e.g. experiences inside buildings, tasting events, and tennis matches live and/or broadcast). The goal is to study the similarities and/or differences in the use of the constructions in written genres and in the genres originating them in the real world. Such sensory and emotive discourses as architecture, enology and sport competition ask for a cross -genre and multimodal approach that allows for exploring the role of metaphor in the verbal recodification and transmission of perceptual and emotional data (triggered by spaces, wines, matches) so that they can be distributed, shared and legitimized in specific communities and cultures.

Discourse Genres and Applied Typology