ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000

3.2.1. Directed motion in elicited narratives

The concern will be with how English and Spanish-speaking subjects differed in rendering the motion events in the story. Slobin (1996: 205) summarizes the results. They are strikingly similar to what is found with the analysis of novels and their translations:

[A]nalysis of the frog stories reveals a distinct contrast in rhetorical style between English and Spanish. English-speakers may devote more attention to the dynamics of movement because of the availability of verbs of motion (often conflated with manner) that can readily be associated with satellites and locative prepositional phrases to trace out detailed paths in relation to ground elements. Spanish-speakers, by contrast, seem to be led by their language to devote less narrative attention to the dynamics and perhaps somewhat more attention to static scene setting.
More specifically, Spanish narrators, compared with the English: (i) use a smaller set of motion verbs; (ii) mention fewer path elements in individual clauses; (iii) present fewer segments in complex motion events; and (iv) offer more elaborate descriptions of settings (leaving paths to be inferred).
With regards to the number of verbs (i), below is the list of all the motion verbs used in the sixty Spanish and English narrations:
(3.41) Spanish verbs: (Sebastián and Slobin 1994: 261)
acercarse, alcanzar, arrojar, bajar(se), caer(se), correr, dar-un-empujón, dar-un-salto, entrar, escapar(se) hacer-caer, huir, ir(se), llegar, llevar(se), marchar(se), meter(se), nadar, perseguir, poner-se, regresar, sacar-se, salir, saltar, subir(se), tirar, traspasar, venir, volar, volver(se).

(3.42) English verbs: (Berman and Slobin 1994: 153)
buck, bump, buzz, carry, chase, climb, come, crawl, creep, depart, drop, dump, escape, fall, float, fly, follow, get, go, head, hide, hop, jump, knock, land, leave, limp, make-fall, move, plummet, pop, push, race, rush, run, slip, splash, splat, sneak, swim, swoop, take, throw, tip, tumble, walk, wander.

It can be observed that there are many more English than Spanish verbs. English narrators use a wide range of specific manner verbs, including bump, buzz, crawl, creep, float, fly, hop, jump, limp, race, rush, run, slip, sneak, swoop, tip, walk, whereas Spanish narrators only use a few: correr, nadar, saltar, and volar. In addition, if the particles (satellites) are considered, there were a total of 123 different combinations of verb + satellite in the 60 English stories:
(3.43) English verbs + satellites (Berman and Slobin 1994: 158)
buck+ off
bump + down
buzz + out
chase + after, in
climb + down, on, out, over, up, up in, up on
come + after, down, off, on, out, over, up
crawl + out, over, up
creep + out, up
drop + down, off
dump + in, off
fall + down, in, off, on, out, over
float + off
fly after, away, off, out, over, up
get + away, down, in, off, on , out, over, past, up, up on
go + down, down out, home, in, off, out, outside, over, through, up
head + for, to
hop + in, on, out, over
jump + down, off, out, over, up
knock + down, down out, in, off, out
limp + in
pop + out, up
push +down, off, off in, out
race + after, away
run + after, along, away, by, from, in, off, out, over, through
rush + out
slip + on, over
sneak + out, over, up
splash + in
splat + in
swim + out, over
swoop +down`
take + away, off with
throw + down, down in, in, off, over, over in
tip +off over
tumble + down, out
walk + along, down, over to
wander + out
By contrast, locative Spanish prepositions are few and general in meaning. The most frequent in the stories are a, de and en. It is not surprising, then, that English narratives have richer dynamic movement descriptions.
In relation to (ii), the number of path elements per clause, English narrators again show an advantage. Considering only the three instances of downward motion present in the story, adult speakers described them with a bare verb in 36% of the cases, whereas English adult narrators did so only on 15% of the occasions. English narrators also mentioned more ground elements, that is, one or more prepositional phrases indicating a relevant landmark in the path (normally the source and/or the goal). 82% of their clauses contained one or more grounds. Only 63% of Spanish adult clauses contained a ground element. Additionally, in sharp contrast with English, there were very few instances of two prepositional phrases indicating two grounds (usually the source and the goal) with just a single motion verb in Spanish. In the 60 narrations studied there were only two instances of a verb with two path components of the movement in the same clause. In a subsequent expansion of the study, with 156 frog stories collected in Latin America, there was only one other case. The three are reproduced below (from Slobin 1996: 203):
(3.44) Se cayó de la ventana a la calle.
‘[The dog] fell from the window to the street.’ [age 5, Spain]
(3.45) El perro . . . hace un movimiento tal que se precipita al suelo, desde la ventana. . .
‘The dog . . . makes a movement such that he plummets to the ground, from the window. . .’ [adult, Chile]
(3.46) Lo lleva campo a través hasta un barranco

‘[The deer] carries him across (the) field to a cliff.’ [age 9, Spain]
They come from subjects of different ages, which suggests that it is not a developmental issue. What can be concluded is that Spanish speakers give at most only one piece of information per verb about the ground (source, goal or medium).
Since Spanish speakers offer less information about path in each clause, it might be expected that they would compensate by offering more path segments in a particular "journey" (an extended path including milestones and subgoals). In the case of the translations, it was seen that translators broke up a complex  path in the English original into several coordinated clauses in the Spanish translation . Narrators could do the same. They could break the particular journey into more segments than their English counterparts in order to compensate for the constrained and limited number of paths per clause that their language imposes on them. But as (iii) above  states, the opposite is the case: English speakers tend to break the complex motion events into more segments than Spanish speakers. To illustrate the kind of segments referred to, the elaborate adult description of one journey is given below (from Slobin 1996: 202):
(3.47) What the boy took to be branches were really antlers of a deer on which he gets caught. The dog, oblivious to all this, is looking behind the rock. The deer takes off with the boy strewed across his antlers, and the dog runs at his feet yelling at it to stop it. They’re approaching a cliff, and the deer stops abruptly, which causes the boy to lose his balance and fall with the dog down into the stream.
This ‘journey’ is particularly relevant because most of the examples given below refer to it. For this episode, Spanish 9 year-olds provided at most three segments. Only 40% provided three, in contrast to the 92% of English-speaking 9 year-olds who provided three or more (half of them provided more than three). Of the adult narrations, 100% of the English and 75% of the Spanish divided it into three or more segments. Thus, Spanish speakers do not seem to make up for the poverty of path descriptions in their clauses by breaking the episodes into more segments.

Instead, the strategy Spanish narrators seem to use to compensate for the lack of path details is to offer a more elaborate description of the scene setting where the movement takes place (iv, above). The following examples from two 9 year-olds will serve as an illustration of this and of two other differences (i, ii,  above). The two examples refer to the same episode in the picture story: The boy has been caught on the antlers of a deer. The deer starts running and stops at the edge of a cliff. Both the boy and his dog fall from the cliff into a river below (from Berman and Slobin 1994: 11):

(3.48) And he starts running. And he tips him off over a cliff into the water. And he lands.
(3.49) El ciervo le llevó hasta un sitio, donde debajo había un río. Entonces el ciervo tiró al perro y al niño al río. Y después, cayeron.
The deer took him until a place, where below there was a river. The deer threw the dog and the boy to the river. And then they fell.
In the English example (3.48), a manner verb and even a cause of movement verb are used to describe the deer’s run, and to describe the particular way in which the deer throws the boy into the water (by tipping its head). In the Spanish example, there are three path verbs: llevar, tirar and caer. Manner and cause of movement are absent (i). In addition, one English verb, tip, apart from combining both cause and manner, is complemented by three path satellites specifying in detail the source and goal of the trajectory. The Spanish counterpart tirar is accompanied only by one path element, al río (ii). With regards to (iv), in the Spanish example there is a more elaborate description of the static setting where the fall takes place: hasta un sitio donde debajo había un río. This compensates for the sparse description of the path. The Spanish listener would be able to infer most of the path elements that are not mentioned. (iii) is not manifest in these examples because both narrators have divided the episode into three segments.
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ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000