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Argument structure, conceptual metaphor and semantic change : how to succeed in Indo-European without really trying

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

In contrast to grammaticalization studies of lexical verbs changing into auxiliaries, the realm of semantic changes associated with lexical verbs is an understudied area of historical semantics. We concentrate on the emergence of verbs of success from more semantically concrete verbs, uncovering six conceptual metaphors which all co-occur with non-canonical encoding of subjects in Indo-European. Careful scrutiny of the relevant data reveals a semantic development most certainly inherited from Indo-European; hence, we reconstruct a DAT-U+2018succeedsU+2019 construction at different levels of schematicity for Proto-Indo-European, including a novel reconstruction of a conceptual metaphor, success is motion forward, and the mapping between this metaphor and the verb-class-specific argument structure construction. Hence, this article offers a systematic analysis of regularity in semantic change, highlighting the importance of predicate and argument structure for lexical semantic developments.
Journal: Diachronica
ISSN: 0176-4225
Issue: 4
Volume: 36
Pages: 463 - 508
Publication year:2019