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Multiple senses of the verb pegar in Brazilian Portuguese: transformation of image schemas




polysemy, radial categories, image-schemas and transformations, verb to grasp


To verify if the senses of the verb pegar (‘to grasp’) in Brazilian Portuguese form a radial category motivated by sociocognitive mechanisms, this article analyzes its occurrences in the Discourse & Grammar corpus collected in Rio de Janeiro.  First, it verifies which is the most recurrent form, variations and/or regularities of the verb with AntConc 3.5.8.  Then, it qualitatively interprets each case in the light of context and concepts such as radial category (Lakoff, 1987), image-schema transformations, and metonymic and metaphorical mappings (Johnson, 1987; Lakoff, 1987).  Six groups of meanings were found, all of them structured by the MOVEMENT-PATH schemas.  The extensions derive from the OBJECT schema metaphorization, schema transformations, and related changes in focus, as well as from metaphors and metonyms triggered by linguistic, discursive and contextual cues.  The prototypical sense is ‘to hold objects’ (the TRAJECTOR IS A CONTAINER).  The most peripheral senses are to have an idea and to move in a direction (IDEAS ARE OBJECTS and GOALS ARE LOCATIONS, respectively).  The senses include ‘to hold’, ‘attack’, ‘pick up’, ‘move along discourse’, ‘speculate’, and ‘follow in a direction’.


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