The representation of motion in discourse: variation across registers

Abhishek Kumar Kashyap, Christian M.I.M. Matthiessen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


In this article, we investigate verbs of motion in discourse, adding a dimension that has not yet been explored in published literature — viz. the variation in representing motion across different registers. We take a functional- registerial approach and profile the representation of motion through space in four registers, which include six “spatial texts” (i.e. texts where motion through space is central) and bring out the kinds of motion that are characteristic of each register. We profile the preferences of representing motion in verbs in qualitative and quantitative terms. Our findings reveal that the lexical choices for representing motion in each register resonate with the “field” of discourse. The findings reported in this study are significant for text-typology involving the description of motion and are, therefore, of theoretical interest. Most previous discourse-based studies, usually informed by the analysis of narratives, suggest that (in Talmy's well-known classification) satellite-framed languages in general pay more attention to manner and verb-framed languages to direction. We propose that the inclusion of a registerial dimension in the study of motion in discourse further deepens our understanding of satellite- and verb-framed languages' attention to manner and direction of motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-92
Number of pages22
JournalLanguage Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Field of discourse
  • Motion
  • Register analysis
  • Space
  • Text-typology
  • Verb of motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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