I recently read a question that referred to "aspectual coercion" and looked up a paper called "Aspectual coercion and the typology of change of state predicates".

To read this paper, I'll have to know, among other things, what "coercion" means in this context. The relevant article in Wikipedia was a stub that cited no references or links to other articles.

Hence the title question: What does the term "coercion" mean in the context of Cognitive Linguistics?

  • 1
    It is explained in the paper itself- in section 4.1.2. - very clearly.
    – Alex B.
    Apr 18, 2012 at 14:33
  • Roger that. Can you provide some examples of coercion in English? Apr 19, 2012 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


I'll use an example from Bary's 2009 paper.

The Progressive in English doesn't go well with stative verbs (due to their semantic incompatibility):

John is tall. =>*John is being tall.

On the other hand, we have:

John is funny. =>John is being funny.

Here, the mismatch is resolved by the progressive operator coercing (reinterpreting) a stative verb into eventive. "John is being funny" means "John is acting funny". It's no longer a state.

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