Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Detail 88: Verbs of motion

Often, languages differ in what exact things they encode in their verbs of motion: is it manner (run vs. walk vs. slouch vs. mosey vs. hobble) or direction/aim (ascend, descend, enter, exit, approach, circumambulate). We find that in English, Latin loans tend to incorporate direction and such information, whereas Germanic inherited words tend to just encode the manner of motion.

Typologically, these two seem to be the categories of most interest.

What if we'd have verbs also encode for environment of movement? In English, we have wade (for walking in water), and sort of trek (often for walking in mountains or wilderness although it seems to increasingly also encode something about the type of walk you're taking: a walk of considerable distance for enjoying nature). But let's code for things like walk in mud, walk in water, walk in a forest, walk in a hilly area,walk in a desert, ...and then the same for run, and for a few others.

In one way, it'd tell us quite a bit more about what the culture the language is supposed to present cares to code for.

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