A Web of Analogies: Depictive and Reaction Object Constructions in Modern English and French Fiction

  • Susanne Dyka
  • Iva Novakova
  • Dirk Siepmann
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10596)


This paper looks at the cross-linguistic complexity of two fiction-specific English-language constructions involving descriptive key words, viz. (a) depictive constructions and (b) reaction object constructions (ROCs). The English constructions in question were subjected to a detailed, corpus-based analysis in terms of their lexical realizations and complementation patterns. A comparison was then made (a) with French constructional equivalents in literary texts written by French authors and (b) with translations of literary texts from English into French and vice versa. The results show that, compared to English, French literary style has limited options for expressing descriptivity. However, whilst there is an almost total absence of full equivalents of depictives in French novels, the situation is more varied in the case of ROCs, with some types being fairly productive in French (e.g. hurler, murmurer) but others non-existent.


Depictive constructions Reaction object constructions Fictional key words Descriptive verbs 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität Osnabrück, University of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Université Grenoble Alpes, Université Stendhal Grenoble3Grenoble Cedex 9France

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