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CAN avec les verbes de perception

Abstract : The use of CAN with verbs of sensory perception has been well researched over the past decades (Lakoff, 1972, Coates 1983, Larreya 1984, Gilbert 1987, Palmer 1987…), and yet the way one should interpret the semantic contribution of CAN in such contexts is not without some controversies. Chief of which is probably the dispute over whether this use of CAN is subject-oriented or object-oriented. Our contribution to this debate is twofold. Firstly, we consider that the entire subject-oriented versus object-oriented discussion is wrongly framed; our hypothesis is that the use of CAN is not object-oriented per se but rather it backgrounds the perceiving subject, hence giving prominence to the percept (i.e. the object). Secondly, we will test our hypothesis by observing translations of this modality into French; this comparison will reveal that the data provided by our corpus matches the theory relatively well in the sense that in a large number of cases the (backgrounded) perceiving subject is simply omitted in the translation.
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Lionel Dufaye. CAN avec les verbes de perception. Autour du verbe anglais. Construction, lexique, évidentialité, Geneviève GIRARD-GILLET (éd.) Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2014, 199 p., 2014. ⟨hal-01689372⟩



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