83 Transitive motion verbs: ‘pull’

This feature is described more fully in chapter 83.


This feature complements the previous features on transitive motion verbs like 'push'. It deals with transitive motion verbs like 'pull' as in Lea pulled Gabriel out of the hole, where the theme (Gabriel) is moved away from a source (hole). In the English construction, the source is marked by a combination of two prepositions, out of. Other languages, however, have the same preposition in motion-from contexts and in at-rest contexts, e.g. Reunion Creole (motion-from:) tir le ros dan la ter [54-184] 'to pull the stones out of the ground', (at-rest:) Nana tro d ros dan la ter. [54-185] 'There are too many stones in the ground.'

This kind of polysemous use of the preposition dan in Reunion Creole is strikingly different from the situation in its European base language French. In French, transitive motion-from constructions obligatorily show the ablative preposition de, as in tirer des pierres de la terre 'to pull stones out/from the ground', not the at-rest prepositions dans or sur (Les pierres sont dans la terre 'The stones are in the soil').

When we speak of at-rest situations, we refer – as in Feature 82 – only to the spatial relations of containment ('in') and attachment ('at') and compare the motion-from constructions with these two kinds of at-rest constructions. The English sentence Gabriel is out of the hole may also be regarded as a kind of at-rest situation, but here it is implied that the location of Gabriel is a derived one, the result of precisely a motion out of some other location. So if we included all kinds of spatial relations, then even English would have the same marking for at-rest and motion-from.

As in Feature 82, there are different means to express transitive motion-from situations, and languages may show several construction types.


Susanne Maria Michaelis and the APiCS Consortium


Special motion-from adposition26632
At-rest marking is used to express motion-from121022
Serial verb construction437
Serial verb construction plus preposition7714
Ablative case112

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details