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A cognitive linguistic approach to teaching english prepositions

  • English prepositions take only a small proportion of the language but play a substantial role. Although prepositions are of course also frequently used in English textbooks for secondary school, students fail to incidentally acquire them and often show low achievements in using prepositions correctly. The strategy commonly employed by language instructors is teaching the multiple senses of prepositions by rote which fails to help the students to draw links between the different meanings in usage. New findings in Cognitive Linguistics (CL) suggest a different approach to teaching prepositions and thus might have a strong impact on the methodologies of foreign language teaching and learning on the aspects of meaningful learning. Based on the Theory of Domains (Langacker, 1987), the notions of image schemas (Johnson, 1987) as well as the Conceptual Metaphor Theory (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980), the present study developed a CL-inspired approach to teaching prepositions, which was compared to the traditional teaching method by an empirical study conducted in a German school setting. Referring to the participants from the higher track and the medium track, who are at different proficiency levels, the results indicate that the CL-inspired teaching approach improved students" performance significantly more than the traditional approach in all the cases for the higher track and in some cases for the medium track. Thus, these findings open up a new perspective of the CL-inspired meaningful learning approach on language teaching. In addition, the CL-inspired approach demonstrates the unification of the integrated model of text and picture comprehension (the ITPC model) in integrating the new knowledge with related prior knowledge in the cognitive structure. According to the learning procedure of the ITPC model, the image schema as visual image is first perceived through the sensory register, then is processed in the working memory by conceptual metaphor, and finally it is integrated with cognitive schemata in the long term memory. Moreover, deep-seated factors, such as transfer of mother tongue, the difficulty of teaching materials, and the influence of prior knowledge, have strong effects on the acquisition of English prepositions.

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Author:Xin Song
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schnotz, Constanze Juchem-Grundmann
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2013/12/06
Date of publication:2013/12/06
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 8
Date of final exam:2013/11/04
Release Date:2013/12/06
Tag:cognitive linguistic approach; english prepositions; teaching
GND Keyword:Englisch; Kognitive Linguistik; Methode; Präposition
Number of pages:XIV, 233 Seiten
Institutes:Fachbereich 8 / Fachbereich 8
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG