Attention to Manner of Motion in Arabic Novels: A Diachronic Study


The objective of this work is to conduct a corpus-based diachronic investigation of lexicalization patterns of motion events as well as attention to manner of motion in Arabic narrative writing. Motivated by the scarcity of research on Arabic motion events, this study aims to identify the main linguistic constructions used to express motion events in Arabic novels and more importantly to investigate whether a shift in manner of motion salience has taken place in the last hundred years. The study draws on Talmy’s framework of satellite-framed versus verb-framed typology of languages and makes use of two literary corpora. Main findings include the identification of six major constructions of motion events and show that while novelists in both time periods make use of similar linguistic constructions, there seems to be a significant shift towards more manner salience in contemporary Arabic novels. This increased attention is reflected in less use of the default manner-of-motion verb, walk, in favour of more expressive manner verbs, a stronger tendency to manner modification with walk and non-manner verbs, and a significantly heavier use of non-verbal modifiers.


Waleed Othman and Mohammad Alhailawani


Arabic, diachronic, manner salience, motion events