Body part nouns in expressions of location in French
In relation to inanimates, nouns that normally denote body parts when constructed in relation to an animate whole (pied ‘foot’, tête ‘head’, etc.) lose their literal meaning in French and acquire instead a spatial interpretation. This paper argues that spatial part Ns in French divide into two coherent groups with distinct properties: fixed spatial part terms, which denote concrete, perceptible objects and whose interpretation is completely predictable on the basis of the shape and position of the whole and relative spatial part terms, which denote a location projected from the whole. A detailed study of the two classes of expressions shows that, while the former are true nouns, the latter are in fact Axial Parts, a category motivated crosslinguistically in the semantic decomposition of preposition.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
SeriesNordlyd 33.1(2006), pp 98-119
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