Bridging, Tunneling, and Towering: How Human Interaction with Artifacts Influences the Meanings of Converted Verbs

In: Cognitive Semantics
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  • 1 Umeå University, Sweden
  • 2 Kristianstad University College, Sweden

What determines the meaning of a converted verb? Why do some verbs that have been converted from nouns that refer to artifacts mean making the artifact, and others not? How come some of them, but not others, are connected with motion? And how do speakers’ experiences of the artifacts involved influence the meanings of the verbs? Noun-to-verb conversion has been dealt with at phonological, grammatical and word semantic levels, and explained in terms of metonymic processes and event schema. Yet few studies, if any, have looked into why and how converted verbs acquire the meanings that they do. This article is a corpus linguistic investigation of the converted verbs bridge, tunnel, and tower. Our aim is to find out how speakers’ experiences of the artifacts that the corresponding nouns refer to influence the meanings of the converted verbs.

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