Italian and Spanish: Two Romance Languages with a Different Conceptualization of Space and Motion


Despite belonging to the group of Romance languages and being considered closely related, Italian and Spanish show important differences that make them drift away from each other and make us wonder whether the idea of a sole Romance domain is a myth or a reality. After conducting an in-depth analysis of a variety of linguistic resources available in both languages for the expression of motion, we have noticed that Italian and Spanish speakers seem to conceptualize space differently and do not use the same linguistic resources for the creation of motion events. With a comparative analysis of translations in both languages obtained mainly from subtitles of series and films, we have studied boundary-crossing events, the linguistic resources available in Spanish to compensate for the lack of Italian clitic pronouns ci and ne, differences in spatial deixis with the verbs andare and venire compared to ir and venir, as well as the uses of spatial deictic adverbs in Italian (qui/qua and lì/là) compared to aquí/acá, allí/allá and ahí in Spanish. The aim of this paper, focused on the conceptualization of space and the expression of motion in Spanish and Italian, is to show that, despite being widely perceived as two similar languages, there is a much more complex and intricate structure underneath that proves the existence of important linguistic differences between these two languages and, most importantly, two diverse perceptions of the world.
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