English posture verbs An experientially grounded approach

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This paper considers a number of linguistic properties of English SIT, STAND, and LIE which are argued to be the cardinal posture verbs of English. The distinctiveness of just these three posture verbs is evidenced by their relatively high frequency within the class of posture verbs in English and matched by grammaticalization facts in other languages. The paper considers the difficulty of differentiating action and state senses of these verbs and explores the use of posture verbs with inanimate subjects. It is argued that human experiential realities of posture motivate a number of these facts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-57
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Cognitive Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus linguistics
  • Experiential reality
  • Grammaticalization
  • Locative predicates
  • Posture verbs
  • Verbal aspect

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