The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 4/26 - Aynat Rubinstein (HUJI)

Speaker: Aynat Rubinstein (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Title: Desire in motion
Time: Friday, April 26, 3:30-5:00pm
Room: 32-141

Motion verbs are famous for their tendency to undergo language change. Across languages, verbs meaning ‘come’ and ‘go’ become future markers, aspectual markers, modals expressing necessity, and more. Tracing the development of ‘come’ in Hebrew during its revival, this talk highlights yet another diachronic pathway that stems from motion: the pathway from motion to desire. Using goal-orientation as the essential meaning component of directed motion, I offer an analysis of the internally-motivated changes in the verb’s meaning, as well as changes instigated by language contact. The investigation supports the idea that meaning change is driven not by conventionalization of pragmatic inferences but by re-distribution of semantic content in possibly innovative syntactic configurations (Beck 2012, Beck & Gergel 2015, Condoravdi & Deo 2014).