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Article

A frame-based approach to the source-goal asymmetry: Synchronic and diachronic evidence from Ancient Greek

Constructions and Frames. 2018. Vol. 10. No. 1. P. 61-97.
Георгакопулос А.

This paper investigates the asymmetrical behavior of Sources and Goals of motion in Homeric and Classical Greek within the frame semantics paradigm. In particular, based on a corpus of 26 works covering four text types, it is shown that (a) regardless of their semantic class, motion verbs display preference for Goal paths compared to Source ones; (b) the frame that a verb belongs to affects the type of path chosen only to a certain degree that does not change the Source-Goal imbalance; (c) semantically incongruent motion verb – path combinations are naturally less frequent than congruent combinations, but within the category of incongruent combinations the tokens are distributed in a way that reflects the prevalence of Goals; (d) the number of markers for the encoding of Goal is higher than that of Source; and (e) Source and Goal markers interact with Place ones in an asymmetrical way: Goal markers come to encode Place and, similarly, Place markers come to express Goal. Conversely, the interaction of markers exhibiting Source-Place polysemy is unidirectional, in the sense that none of these markers was originally used to encode Place alone. Theoretical implications of the study are discussed and directions for future research are suggested.