High-level action metonymies in English and SpanishReport as inadecuate

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Linguistics, Vol.4 No.1 September 2003. -

In this paper we postulate the existence of two high-level metonymies,


correlate respectively with cases of the causative-inchoative alternation

and the middle construction. In our view, for a full analysis of

the semantics of these two kinds of construction, it is necessary to take

into account the existence of an underlying action frame with an implicit

agent; however, the action is linguistically presented as a noncontrolled

event. We observe that these two high-level metonymies are

also exploited productively in Spanish, although with different realization

patterns. The closest Spanish parallel to the English inchoative and

middle constructions is the so-called reflex passive, whose grammatical

status remains controversial. We agree with Alarcos 1994 and

Maldonado 1999 in their claim that the reflex passive does not display

the inherent passive features, so that cases of this construction may be

equated to other reflexive constructions. In them se is not a clitic but a

reflexive pronoun, the subject being coreferential with it. This insight is

further substantiated by the fact that the addition of an agentive complement

with por ‘by’ often yields fairly infelicitous examples. While

in English both kinds of metonymy are instantiated by the reduction of

an argument position of the predicate, in Spanish—where the reduction

of an argument position is impossible—the goal is expressed separately

through the reflexive pronoun se, the true agent is omitted, and the

grammatical subject takes over this role.

predicational metonymy; causative-inchoative construction; middle construction; reflex pasive construction

Author: Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez - orcid.org-0000-0002-1200-2850 ; Universidad de La Rioja, Logroño, Departamento de Fil

Source: http://hrcak.srce.hr/


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