The expression of motion in English and Spanish narratives: how systemic functional linguistics can enrich the findings of cognitive linguistics
Meehan, Patricia Verónica
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One of the most noticeable aspects in which English and Spanish are typologically different is the way in which they construe meanings of motion, especially when there is a trajectory implied. While English lexicalizes motion in prepositions as adverbial particles, Spanish does it in the material process itself. Most of the existing studies that compare and contrast the expression of this type of meanings in English and Spanish have been done from a Cognitive Linguistics (CL) perspective. It was not until the turn of the 21st century that researchers started to carry out contrastive analyses of languages which are typologically different within the Systemic Functional Linguistics framework. However, there is not much on Spanish and English. Through the present work, I attempt to make a minor contribution to systemic typological studies of how Spanish and English construe motion through space. I have chosen to focus on the construal of space in narrative in these two languages because this genre is richer in motion and manner verbs, which are central to this topic. In view of this aim, an instrument to carry out a dual analysis of the material clauses in this corpus (40 in Spanish and 40 in English) was designed in order to compare and contrast the descriptions from both perspectives. The results have shown that SFL and CL have a lot in common and that SFL can complement the cognitive analyses with some categories which evince a greater degree in delicacy and that can provide our future translators with other tools and strategies they can profit from when translating English narratives into Spanish and vice-versa.
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