Linguistics and English Language

Meaning and grammar seminar

Speaker: Celia Garcia Fullana (University of Edinburgh/Universitat Rovira i Virgili)

Title: A crosslinguistic analysis of Cognate Object Constructions: Why are they different?

Abstract: Cognate Object Constructions (COCs), like John smiled a beautiful smile, appear to show different forms and syntactic behaviors across languages. Following Talmy’s language typology (2000), in satellite-framed languages such as English, COs are resulting objects in an argument position complementing the verb (Felser & Wanner, 2001; Macfarland, 1995; Massam, 1990; Real Puigdollers, 2013). In verb-framed languages like Spanish, however, Prepositional Cognate Constructions (PCCs) occupy an adjunct position with exclusively a manner reading, in which the cognate is usually introduced by a preposition, sonrió con una sonrisa pícara ‘(he) smiled with a mischievous smile’(Alvarez-Morera et al. 2021, Fullana et al. in press).

In this talk, I will examine the difference in behaviour of these structures between the two language groups and draw attention to the similarities between cognate structures within verb-framed languages, such as PCCs in peninsular Spanish and Adverbial Cognates in Hebrew (hem badku 'et ha-toca'ot bdika yesodit ‘they examined the results (with a) thorough examination’) (Horrocks & Stavrou 2010; Perelstvaig 2022).

There seems to be a tendency in verb-framed languages to avoid complex resultatives, like Mary kicked a hole in the wall, as well as COCs as we know them in English. I will show that the treatment of the manner of a language does not only affects its (in)ability to produce complex resultatives but it may also play a role in the creation of COCs. The results provide supporting evidence to Talmy’s typological distinction of satellite-framed and verb-framed languages.


Seminars are organised by the meaning and grammar research group.

Meaning and grammar research group

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May 24 2022 -

Meaning and grammar seminar

2022-05-24: A crosslinguistic analysis of Cognate Object Constructions: Why are they different?

Room 7.01, Dugald Stewart Building, 3 Charles Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AD