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Linguistic Typology


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This study analyzes systems of direction and associated motion in 23 languages of the Tibeto-Burman family. Both direction and associated motion can be encoded by a range of grammatical strategies, including affixes, clitics, parti- cles, serial-verb constructions, and auxiliary verbs. While some languages have only associated motion or direction, others have both, either via distinct sub- systems, syntactic ambiguity, or context-dependent interpretation. While direc- tional encodings can be interpreted as associated motion in some contexts, the reverse can also be true. Verbal semantics is key to the pragmatic interpretation of examples in context; some types of motion verbs are more compatible with directional interpretations and others with associated motion. In addition, certain types of motion verbs were found to be compatible with different temporal re- lationships that hold between the activity of the primary verb and the motional component. Finally, the grammatical role of the figure in such constructions de- pends on both the temporal relationship and the semantics of the verb.