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

4.2. Evidence from Spanish

Spanish also presents many examples of verbs and constructions that are similar to English in the way in which directed motion is expressed. Aske (1989) presents evidence against Talmy’s typology. He points out that there are many natural colloquial examples where Spanish follows the characteristic English type, with a verb of manner of motion complemented by a path phrase expressing the directionality. He offers the following examples (3):

(4.2) Juan bailó en círculos/ de un lado para otro/hacia la puerta/ hasta la puerta
John danced in circles(=around)/from one place to another(=about)/towards the door/ all the way to the door

(4.3) La botella flotó hacia la cueva
The bottle floated towards the cave

(4.4) El libro se deslizó hasta el suelo
The book slid down to the floor

(4.5) Mi ejercicio consiste en caminar a la biblioteca dos veces al día
My exercise consists of walking to the library twice a day

(4.6) La pelota rodó desde el tercer piso hasta el segundo
The ball rolled from the third floor to the second floor

(4.7) La botella flotó por el canal
The bottle floated along/ about the canal

(4.8) Empujamos el coche cuesta arriba
We pushed the car up (the) hill

(4.9) El globo flotó p’arriba, p’abajo, p’adentro y luego p’afuera
The balloon floated up, down, in and then out

Aske remarks that "these sentences contradict Talmy’s formulation that Spanish doesn’t have manner-plus-motion verbs with path complements" (3). However, Talmy never stated that this was not possible in Spanish. In fact, he even gave one such sentence, El hombre corrió al sótano as one of the possible translations for the man ran back down into the cellar (Talmy 1985: 123, examples 2.19 and 2.20 above). Nevertheless, the colloquial character and the naturalness of examples (4.2) through (4.9) pose a problem for Talmy’s claim that these sentences are not "characteristic" for Spanish.1


1  All of Aske's examples sound natural except two of the variants of (4.2) Juan bailó hasta la puerta and Juan bailó hacia la puerta, which none of the Spanish speakers surveyed find acceptable.  Nevertheless, Juan bailó en círculos hacia la puerta is widely accepted.

Anterior   I  Siguiente   I  Índice capítulo 4   I  Índice General

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