Initial location, condition, or value. May be abstract.

For motion events, the initial location is where the thing in motion (the figure) starts out. Source also applies to abstract or metaphoric initial locations, including initial states in a dynamic event.

In English, a prototypical Source preposition is from:

The Source use of from can combine with a specific locative PP:

Note that away_from is ambiguous between marking a starting point (Source) and a separate orientational reference point (Direction):

  • At the sound of the gun, the sprinters ran away_from/from the starting line. (Source) 012

  • The bikers ride parallel to the river for several miles, then head east, away_from/#from the river. (Direction: bikers are never at the river) 013

Note, too, that off/off_of and out/out_of can also mark simple states:

States are discussed at length under Characteristic. There is also a (negated) possession sense of out/out_of:

Sometimes a specific Source is implicit, and the preposition is intransitive. But if no specific referent is implied, another label may be more appropriate:

  • The cat was sitting on the ledge, then jumped off. (Source: implicit ‘(of) it’) 018

  • He was offered the deal, but walked away. (Source: implicit ‘from it’) 019

  • The bird flew away/off. (Direction: vaguely away from the viewpoint) 020

Source is prototypically inanimate, though it can be used to construe animate Participants (especially Originator and Causer). Contrasts with Goal.

Agency as giving#

When an Agent’s action to help somebody is conceptualized as giving, and the nominalized action as the thing given, then from can mark the Agent (metaphorical giver). If the from-PP is adnominal, AgentSource is used #021. However, if the from-PP is adverbial, and the verb relates to the metaphoric transfer rather than the event described by the action nominal, then the argument linking becomes too complicated for this scheme to express; simple Source is used by default #022:

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