Journal article Open Access

Verbs of letting in Germanic and Romance languages A quantitative investigation based on a parallel corpus of film subtitles

Levshina, Natalia

This study compares eleven verbs of letting in six Germanic and five Romance
languages. The aim of this paper is to pinpoint the differences and similarities in
the semasiological variation of these verbs, both across and within the two language
groups they represent. The results of a Multidimensional Scaling analysis
based on a parallel corpus of film subtitles show that the verbs differ along several
semantic dimensions, such as letting versus leaving, factitive versus permissive
causation, as well as modality and discourse function. Although the main
differences between the verbs lend themselves to a genealogical interpretation
(Germanic vs. Romance), a distributional analysis of constructional patterns in
which the verbs occur reveals that these differences are in fact distributed areally,
with a centre and a periphery.

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