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Detail of contribution

Auteur: Efthymia TSAROUCHA

English Phrasal Verbs: A Case of Metonymy

Abstract/Résumé: This paper argues that spatial and temporal aspects of English phrasal are a case of metonymy governed by the verb-particle combination; either the verb or the particle, or even both may be of equal semantic dominance. The metonymic properties of phrasal verbs allow speakers to construct mental relations concerning the actors interacting in an event, their activity, instruments, tools and affected objects or products. Moreover, the metonymicity of the verb-particle combination entails the existence of a source (the location of the particular event: i.e., home), a path (the process of making the action, i.e., dropping in, grounded in space and time: i.e., in the area, last night) and a vehicle (the actors interacting in the event: i.e., they, we). Hence, the syntactic form of phrasal verbs (verb-particle construction) is governed by their semantic content, which is based on a certain kind of metonymic mapping that occurs within a single domain and shifts reference from the primary domain, which is secondary in the literal meaning. As a consequence, when the particle is attached to the verb, an idiomatic expression arises: particles’ metonymic properties shift and extend the normal and prototypical meaning of the verb into a more idiomatic sense.