Watching Fictive Motion in Action: Discourse Data from the TV News Archive

Abstract

Fictive Motion is a type of figurative language used to express static visual scenes in terms of motion, for example, "The road runs along the river" or "The scar runs down his back". Previous research suggests that we mentally simulate fictive motion (Matlock 2004, Matlock & Bergmann, in press), but little is known about the use of fictive motion in real discourse. Our study is the first to look at discourse data, analyzing videos taken from the TV News Archive containing fictive motion utterances. Our results show that the conceptual structure of the trajector (road, scar) influences both gestures produced with the utterance and linguistic properties of the utterance. Our study not only shows how fictive motion is used in speech, but also provides more insight on the mental processes involved in understanding and producing fictive motion, and more generally, figurative language.


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