Croatian Spatial Prepostitions and Prefixes. a Cognitive Semantic Analysis

Maja Brala-Vukanović, Nensi Rubinić; Filozofski fakultet Rijeka
In this paper we focus our attention on Croatian spatial prepositions and prefixes. Observing things from the cognitive linguistic perspective, we analyse the patterns of usage of the type prefixed motion verb + prepositional phrase (PP), where the prefix and the preposition have the same lexical form (e.g. pretrčati preko ceste). In order to try and distinguish the semantic components lexicalized by the prefix vs. those lexicalized by the preposition, we briefly review the results of two studies in which we elicited the Croatian native speakers’ intuitions relative to the semantic interpretation of sentences which allow for an alternation between the prefixed verb plus PP vs. prefixed verb plus direct object (e.g. pretrčati preko ceste vs. pretrčati cestu). The results seem to suggest that the spatial information (primarily relative to Path) in the above pattern is lexicalized by the preposition, whereas the prefix bears little – if any – burden of expressing spatial meanings.
Key words
spatial language; prepositions; verbal prefixes; motion verbs; cognitive semantics
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