Spatial Prepositions in Motion-Related Events: a Case Study of English and Thai

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Vilaivan Aroonmanakun

Abstract

This paper discusses how motion events are coded in the two languages, namely English and Thai, in the presence of spatial prepositions. Meanwhile it offers evidence to substantiate the claim that a movement reading is derived from other sentential elements rather than the conventional meaning of a preposition. The study focuses on a marginal case where prepositions of containment in English and Thai “in”and “naj”, albeit denoting primarily a location of an action, are deliberately used in a sentence expressing a motion event. It is found in both languages that a movement reading is not arbitrary but, rather, is assigned by some sentential elements specific to each language, emphasizing the way a particular language has for its meaning representation.

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