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NAMED 2019 Neglected Aspect of Motion Events Description
On Fictive Motion in Language

International Workshop



Named 2019



May 23-24th, Paris

Ecole Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm
Salle Dussane





 Organization :

Organized by Laure Sarda and Benjamin Fagard (CNRS-ENS, Lattice, Paris, France)


The second NAMED conference will take place on May, 23-24th 2019, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris. This second conference will specially encourage submission on neglected aspects of fictive motion constructions, although we will also accept papers addressing some neglected aspects of motion description as we did for the first conference.

Fictive motion is defined as the use of dynamic expressions to describe static scenes. For instance, in “The road goes up the mountain”, the road does not move, whereas in “The man goes up the mountain”, the man does move. Fictive motion thus contrasts with actual motion.

The term ‘Fictive motion’ has been coined by Talmy in his reference article Fictive motion in language and “ception” (1996 ; 2000). Other terms have been used : subjective motion (Langacker 1986 ; Matsumoto 1996), abstract motion (Langacker 1986), virtual motion (Langacker 1999), non-actual motion (Blomberg & Zlatev 2014), which each convey a particular conception of the phenomenon.

The psychological grounds for fictive motion constructions include, in a very general perspective, our “cognitive bias towards dynamism” in both language and cognition (Talmy 2000 : 171–172).

Two main motivations for the use of fictive motion have been reported. First, a phenomenon of enaction, consisting in the projection of the speaker, or another entity, travelling through the figure entity (i.e. the road in the example above). Second, the visual scanning of the figure entity by the speaker or a character (ex : Matlock, 2001, 2004a, 2004b ; Rojo et Valenzuela, 2009 ; Stosic et al., 2015). Fictive motion has been considered as a possible “linguistic universal” ; it is generally seen by cognitive linguists as providing evidence of “fundamental properties of the human mind” (Blomberg and Zlatev 2014, alluding to Lakoff 1987 ; Langacker 1987 ; Lakoff and Johnson 1999).

We encourage submissions with a contrastive, corpus, diachronic and/or experimental perspective, addressing the following issues :


  • Co-extension paths have been broadly described, much more so than other types such as emanation paths (orientation, shadow, radiation, sensory paths), pattern paths, frame-relative motion, advent paths, access paths : is this list complete ? Are there important differences across types, e.g. are only some of them universal ?
  • What are the differences across languages in the use of fictive motion for the description of static scenes ? How do linguistic realizations of fictive motion vary across languages ?
  • Is there a link between the use of fictive motion in a given language and its typological properties (for instance in terms of the satellite-framed/verb-framed distinction) ?
  • What are the constraints on the nature of figure and ground in fictive motion constructions ? Do they vary across languages ?
  • Are specific types of motion verbs (e.g. deictic, path, manner of motion verbs) more likely to be used in fictive motion constructions ? Is it linked to their spatial or to their aspectual properties ? What does it reveal of the structure of the lexicon, or the classification of motion verbs ? (cf. Cappelli 2013).
  • Is there a continuum of dynamicity of motion verbs, with an impact on their use in fictive motion constructions ? What makes a motion verb more or less dynamic ?
  • What is the actual frequency of Fictive Motion uses with respect to actual motion ? How broad is the phenomenon ?
  • Which constructions (e.g. posture verbs, Stosic et al. 2015) compete with the fictive motion construction ?


Keynote speakers :

Jean-Michel Fortis
CNRS, HTL, France

Tuomas Huumo
University of Turku | UTU ·School of Languages and Translation Studies

Yo Matsumoto
NINJAL (National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics)


Important dates :

  • Abstract submission deadline : March 31, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance : April 12, 2019
  • Conference : May 23-24th 2019


Abstract submission :

We invite abstracts for NAMED 2019 for 30-minute oral presentations (20mn talk + 10 mn questions). Please submit your abstract (in .doc and .pdf) at Abstracts should not exceed 1 pages (excluding references), with 12 point font, single line spacing, and 1” margins.


Scientific committee :

  • Arnaud Arslangul (Paris, France)
  • Michel Aurnague (Toulouse, France)
  • Benjamin Fagard (Paris, France)
  • Jean-Michel Fortis (Paris, France)
  • Anetta Kopecka (Lyon, France)
  • Claire Moyse (Paris, France)
  • Tuomas Huumo (Turku, Finland)
  • Christine Lamarre (Paris, France)
  • Laure Sarda (Paris, France)
  • Dejan Stosic (Toulouse, France)
  • Leonard Talmy (Buffalo, USA)
  • Emile van der Zee (Lincoln, UK)





References :


  • Blomberg J. et Zlatev J., 2014, “Actual and non-actual motion : why experimentalist semantics needs phenomenology (and vice versa)”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 13(3), p. 395-418.
  • Cappelli, F. (2013) Etude du mouvement fictif à travers un corpus d’exemples du français : perspective sémantique du lexique au discours. Thèse de l’Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès.
  • Huumo, T. (2004). I can see the church to my house : Directionality in expressions of visual perception in Finnish. Language, Culture, and Mind. Stanford, CA : Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), 271-280.
  • Huumo, T. (2005). How fictive dynamicity motivates aspect marking : The riddle of the Finnish quasi-resultative construction. Cognitive Linguistics, 16(1), 113-144.
  • Huumo, T. (2006). I woke up from the sofa. Subjective directionality in Finnish expressions of a spatio-cognitive transfer”. Teoksessa ML. Helasvuo & L-Campbell (eds.), Grammar from the human perspective : Case, space and person in Finnish. Amsterdam : John Benjamins, 41-65.
  • Huumo, T. (2010). Is perception a directional relationship ? On directionality and its motivation in Finnish expressions of sensory perception. Linguistics, 48(1), 49-97.
  • Huumo, T. (2014). Path Settings : How dynamic conceptualization permits the use of path expressions as setting adverbials. In : Adverbials in use. From Predicative to Discourse Functions, Eds. Laure Sarda, Shirley Carter-Thomas, Benjamin Fagard & Michel Charolles, 73-102.
  • Langacker R.W., 1986, “Abstract motion”, in Nikiforidou V., Van Clay M., Niepokuj M. et Feder D., Proceedings of the 12th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, Berkeley, CA, Berkeley Linguistics Society, p. 455-471. (In French (1987) : “Mouvement abstrait”, Langue Française, 76, p. 59-76).
  • Langacker R.W., 1987, Foundations of cognitive grammar I : theoretical prerequisites, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.
  • Langacker R.W., 1999, “Virtual reality”, Studies in Linguistic Sciences, 29, p. 77-103.
  • Laur D., 1991, Sémantique du déplacement et de la localisation en français : une étude des verbes, des prépositions et de leurs relations dans la phrase simple, Thèse de Doctorat, Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail.
  • Matlock T., 2001, How real is fictive motion, Thèse de Doctorat, Santa Cruz, CA, University of California.
  • Matlock T., 2004a, “Fictive motion as cognitive simulation”, Memory & Cognition, 32(8), p. 1389-1400.
  • Matlock T., 2004b, “The conceptual motivation of fictive motion”, in Radden G. et Panther K.U., Studies in linguistic motivation, Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, p. 221-248.
  • Matsumoto Y., 1996, “Subjective motion and English and Japanese verbs”, Cognitive Linguistics, 7(2), p. 183-226.
  • Rojo A et Valenzuela J., 2003, “Fictive motion in English and Spanish”, International Journal of English Studies, 3(2), p. 123-149.
  • Rojo A et Valenzuela J., 2009, “Fictive Motion in Spanish : travellable, non-travellable and path-related manner information”, in Valenzuela J., Rojo A. et Soriana C., Trends in cognitive linguistics : theoretical and applied models. Frankfurt, Peter Lang, p. 243–260.
  • Stosic D. et Sarda L., 2009, “The many ways to be located in French and Serbian : the role of fictive motion in the expression of static location”, in Brala VukanoviĆ M. et GruiĆ GrmuŠa L., Space and time in language and literature, Cambridge, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 39-60.
  • Stosic D., Fagard B., Sarda L. et Colin C., 2015, “Does the road go up the mountain ? Fictive motion between linguistic conventions and cognitive motivations”, Cognitive Processing, 16(1), p. 221-225.
  • Talmy L., 1996, “Fictive motion in language and « ception »”, in Bloom P., Peterson M.A., Nadel L. et Garrett M.F., Language and space, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, p. 211-276.
  • Talmy L. 2000, Toward a cognitive semantics (vol. 1 & 2), Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.


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