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MEANINGS OF PREPOSITIONS OVER, ABOVE, UNDER, BELOW IN ENGLISH AND THE VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS FROM a COGNITIVE SEMANTICS PERSPECTIVE

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A THESIS
MEANINGS OF PREPOSITIONS OVER, ABOVE, UNDER, BELOW
IN ENGLISH AND THE VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
FROM A COGNITIVE SEMANTICS PERSPECTIVE
(CÁC NÉT NGHĨA CỦA CÁC GIỚI TỪ OVER, ABOVE, UNDER, BELOW
TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG
TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT DƯỚI GÓC NHÌN NGỮ NGHĨAHỌC TRI NHẬN)

DAO THI HUONG
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh

Hanoi, 1/2018


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY

I certify that the thesis entitled “Meanings of prepositions over, above, under,
below in English and theVietnamese equivalents from a cognitive semantics
perspective” is the result of my own research and the substances of this thesis has not,
wholly or in part, been submitted for a degree to any other university or institution.

Ha Noi, January, 2018

Đào Thị Hương

SUPERVISOR
Approved by

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research has, in many senses, been accomplished with the help and
encouragement of many people. Therefore, I hereby would like to express my
appreciation to all of them.
First of all, I would like to acknowledge my depth of gratitude to my
supervisor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh, lecturer of Hanoi Open University
Institute, who has not only encouraged me to do this study but also given invaluable
ideas and enormously helpful guidance.
My sincere thanks also go to all staffs of the Department of Post Graduate
and Hanoi Open University for their valuable lessons and precious help. Thanks to
them, I could overcome enormous obstacles when doing this research.
Besides, I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the teachers and the
students at the People’s Police University of Technology and Logistics for
participating in this research. Without their help, I would not have been able to
complete this thesis.
Last but not least, I also owe the deepest gratitude to my parents and my
boyfriend, my colleagues, my friends for their constant support and thorough
understanding. Their great encouragement and love have helped me to overcome
the difficulties during my study.

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ABSTRACT

The thesis studies the meanings of four vertical prepositions above, over,
below, and under to find out their similarities and differences. The theory of
cognitive linguistics and cognitive semantics are used as fundamental framework
background for the research.The data are collected and analyzedin three famous
literary works that are represented by the tables and figures. They were grouped and
analyzed through using image schemas (analyzing spatial senses) and metaphorical
structures (analyzing metaphorical expressions or non-spatial senses). Investigating
of four described prepositionsthrough the up-down schema gave the results but
there are still some differences in characteristics of the trajector and the landmark
and the Vietnamese equivalents of these prepositions. These differences cause
different spatial senses and metaphorical uses of the prepositions and synonyms that
made some common errors by the first year non-major students at The Police
People University of Technology and Logistics.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Certificate of originality ...........................................................................................i
Acknowledgements .................................................................................................ii
Abstract ................................................................................................................. iii
Table of contents .................................................................................................... iv
List of tables and graphs ......................................................................................... vi
CHAPTER 1- INTRODUCTION ......................................................................... 1
1.1. Rationale for the study ...................................................................................... 1
1.2 Aims and objectives of the study ....................................................................... 1
1.3 Research questions ............................................................................................ 2
1.4 Methods of the study ......................................................................................... 2
1.5 Scope of the study ............................................................................................. 2
1.6. Significance of the study ................................................................................... 3
1.7 Design of the study ............................................................................................ 3
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................. 5
2.1 Previous studies ................................................................................................. 5
2.2 Cognitive Linguistics ......................................................................................... 6
2.3 A brief overview of Cognitive semantics ......................................................... 11
2.4 Spatial prepositions and semantic perspectives on spatial prepositions ............ 13
2.5 Cognitive semantics approach to prepositions .................................................. 15
2.5.1 Spatial domain and dimensionality ........................................................... 15
2.5.2 Spatial characteristics of trajectors (TR) and landmarks (LM) ................. 16
2.5.3 Categorization and semantic structure ..................................................... 17
2.5.4 Metaphor and Spatial Prepositions........................................................... 20
2.6. Summary ........................................................................................................ 23
CHAPTER 3: PREPOSITIONS OVER, ABOVE, UNDER, BELOWIN
ENGLISH AND THE VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS FROM A
COGNITIVE SEMANTICS PERSPECTIVE ................................................... 25
3.1 The semantic features of over, above, under, below in English ........................ 25
3.1.1. Spatial senses of over .............................................................................. 25
3.1.2. Spatial senses of above ............................................................................ 28
3.1.3. Spatial senses of under ............................................................................ 29
3.1.4. Spatial senses of below ............................................................................ 31
3.1.5. Non- spatial senses of over ...................................................................... 32

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3.1.6. Non- spatial senses of above .................................................................... 36
3.1.7. Non-spatial senses of under ..................................................................... 36
3.1.8. Non-spatial senses of below ..................................................................... 40
3.2 Prepositions over, above, under, below in English and their Vietnamese
equivalents ............................................................................................................ 41
3.2.1 “over” and the Vietnamese equivalents ................................................... 41
3.2.2 “above” and the Vietnamese equivalents .................................................. 42
3.2.3 “under” and the Vietnamese equivalents .................................................. 43
3.2.4 “below” and the Vietnamese equivalents .................................................. 44
3.3. Summary ........................................................................................................ 44
CHAPTER 4: SOME COMMON ERRORS OF USING PREPOSITIONS
“OVER, ABOVE, UNDER, BELOW” IN ENGLISH MADE BY THE
FIRST YEAR NON-MAJOR STUDENTS AT THE POLICE PEOPLE
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS................................... 47
4.1. Survey questionnaires ..................................................................................... 47
4.1.1. Subjects ................................................................................................... 47
4.1.2. Questionnaires ........................................................................................ 47
4.1.3. Procedure ................................................................................................ 47
4.2. Common errors made by learners of English when using the prepositions
over, above, under, below ...................................................................................... 48
4.2.1 Theory of error analysis and contrastive analysis ..................................... 48
4.2.2. Students’ perception of learning using English prepositions .................... 52
4.2.3. Learner’s factors hinder in using prepositions over, above, under,
below................................................................................................................. 53
4.3. Suggestions for teaching and learning English prepositions ............................ 57
4.3.1. Suggestions for teaching English prepositions ......................................... 57
4.3.2. Suggestions for learning English prepositions ......................................... 57
4.4. Summary ........................................................................................................ 58
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 59
5.1 Concluding remarks ......................................................................................... 59
5.2 Limitation of the study ..................................................................................... 59
5.3 Recommendations/Suggestions for further study ............................................. 60
REFERENCES .................................................................................................... 61
APPENDIX .......................................................................................................... ..1

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
LM: Landmark (mốc định vị)
TR: Trajector (vật được định vị)

vi


LIST OF TABLES AND GRAPHS
Table 3.1: Frequency of image schemas of over .................................................... 25
Table 3.2: Frequency of image schemas of under .................................................. 29
Table 3.3: Frequency of metaphorical structures of over ....................................... 33
Table 3.4: Frequency of metaphorical structures of under ..................................... 37
Graph 4.1: Students’ perception in using these English prepositions...................... 52
Graph 4.2: Students’ agree in using positions of the prepositions in sentences…...50

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CHAPTER 1- INTRODUCTION
1.1 . Rationale for the study
English is a language that has more languages than other prepositions.
Howard Sargeant once said that "We know that English is a language used to
connect the relationships between words in a sentence, and as a result, English uses
more and more prepositions than other languages".
Theoretically, there was many famous authors that researched on
prepositions from cognitive perspectives in overseas and Vietnam. These traditional
studies also have represented the semantics of English prepositions as largely
arbitrary and difficult to characterize prepositions in English from cognitive
perspective. Accordingly, it is essential to grasp the related meanings of the English
preposition within the framework of cognitive semantics and in this way immensely
understand what native English speakers conceptualize spatial relations of the
physical world objects and how they map from these spatial domains to non-spatial
domains via metaphor, however, how the prepositions can be translated into
Vietnamese when they are in different collocations have so far not been thoroughly
investigated or they have not still illustrated the Vietnamese equivalents of the
prepositions from cognitive perspective.
Practically, four prepositionsabove, over, below,under are examined in
English that belong to the group of vertical prepositions. They usually make the
learners confused with their polysemyand synonym prepositions such as “above and
over”;“below and under”.Although there are a lot of reference books and materials
related to preposition but not many of them is about their meanings and their
Vietnamese equivalents from Cognitive perspective. Moreover, many students of
English often make mistakes when using them too. Therefore, the study is
conducted related to them named “Meanings of prepositions over, above, under,
below in English and the Vietnamese equivalents from a cognitive semantics
perspective”. With the purpose to help English learners have an insightful view on
these prepositions, cognitive semantics was chosen as the tool to investigate the
meanings of the four spatial prepositions above,over, below,underandpoint out
some common mistakes and suggest solutions.
1.2. Aims and objectives of the study
The aims of the study are tohelp Vietnamese learners use prepositions above,
over, below and undereffectively.
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The objectives of the study are:
- todescribe the semantic features of prepositions over, above, under,
belowin Cognitive semantics perspective.
- to find out the Vietnamese equivalents of four prepositions in English.
1.3. Research questions
To realize the above objectives, the following research questions will be
searched out:
1. What are the semantic features of four English prepositions over, above,
under, below from a cognitive semantic perspective?
2. What are the Vietnamese equivalents of four English prepositions over,
above, under, below?
3. What implications are suggested
prepositionsover, above, under, belowin English?

for

learning–teaching

four

1.4. Methods of the study
The meanings of four prepositions over, above, under, below are investigated
and described by collecting information from many different resources such as the
internet, reference books and documents. After collecting enough information in
this paper, both quantitative and qualitative methods are used to synthesize the basic
theories from many linguists and induce the data collected from English and
Vietnamese materials.
In addition, the descriptive, analytic, comparative method is used to find out
the similarities and differences of the prepositions in the body experience and the
world conceptualization in English and their Vietnamese equivalentsbased on the
semantic aspects.
Besides that, statistical methods are also used to investigate the frequency of
prepositions occurred in the process of semantic changing from spatial meaning into
non-spatial meaning. The use of many prepositions is a dominant feature of English.
1.5. Scope of the study
The study explained the meanings conveyed by the four English prepositions
over, above, under, below. Not only prototypical but also derived meanings of the
prepositions motivated using image schema transformations and metaphorical
extensions will be described.
Based on the corpus with forms of NP + prep + NP and NP + V + prep +
NP, where the function ofprepositions over, above, under, below as a preposition

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only in the primary sources of the English and Vietnamese versions like “Gone
with the Wind” by M. Mitchell; “David Copperfield” by C. Dickens; “Harry
Potter Order of Phoenix” by J. K. Rowling that helped me to collect database to
illustrate the ideas.Vietnamese equivalents of the occurrences were also identified
and grouped in terms of frequency and percentage to explore differences and
similarities between English and Vietnamese spatial conceptualization and
cognition.
1.6. Significance of the study
The thesis contributes further to the enrichment of cognitive linguistic theory
through the English and Vietnamese semantic and comparative documents, related
to the common spatial prepositions. It also clarified the relation of the linguistics,
thinking and culture and conceptual processes.
In addition, the study of prepositions from the cognitive perspective will
explain the expanding of meanings of the preposition (radiality) changed from the
spatial meaning into the non-spatial meaning. The metaphorical theory of
conception, the concept of the body experience are presented in the thesis contribute
to researching on prepositions, language, psychology, translation and teaching.
Potential Vietnamese equivalents of these prepositions investigated in this study
will probably construe how Vietnamese people convey spatial meanings.
Therefore, the thesis is practical and useful for both teachers and students to
learn English better and help foreigners learn Vietnamese more easily. It is may also
be useful for lexicographers when compiling new general and specialized
dictionaries.
1.7. Design of the study
With a clear organization in which there are four main parts designed. It is
hoped that the readers can read easily:
Part I, the introduction, is devoted to presenting statement of the problem,
aims of the study, scope of the study, method of the study, significance of the study,
research questions and design of the study.
Part II, the development, is divided into four chapters:
CHAPTER 1 discusses the general theoretical background of the study,
analytical framework;
CHAPTER 2investigatesthe meanings of the prepositions in English;

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CHAPTER 3 finds the similarities and differences of four English
prepositions and their Vietnamese equivalents from a cognitive semantics
perspective.
CHAPTER 4is common errors made by the first year non major students at
the Police People Technology and Logistics University when using these
prepositions in English
Part III, the conclusion, demonstrates the major findings of the study,
implications and suggestions for further studies. References come at the endof
the study.

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CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Previous studies
There are many authors who researched on prepositions. The author Greek
philosopher Aristotle’s (384-322) BC researches are mentioned in the earliest. In
the West Europe, J. Lyons and the grammatical and semantics researchers are also
interested in researching on prepositions. The author Lyons said that “the two basic
functions of prepositions are the syntactic function and the positioning function.”
According to Frank, (1972); Chomsky, (1995), there are also many
traditional studies that have represented the semantics of English prepositions
difficult to characterize. On the other hand, Cognitive Linguistics, particularly
Cognitive Semantics offers an alternative perspective, suggesting that the
differences in expressing spatial relations and the distinct meanings associated with
a particular preposition are related in systematic, principled ways, Linder, (1982);
Brugman & Lakoff, (1988); Herkovits, (1986, 1988); Boer, (1996), Evans & Tyler,
(2001, 2003).
Nowadays, thanks to pioneering studies researched by Ray Jackenkoff,
George P. Lakoff, Ronald Wayne Langacker, Evans, Vyvan and Melanie Green, the
prepositional studies have a new direction in terms of cognitive linguistics.
Cognitive semanticists has showed an important contribution to demonstrating of
the polysemy in terms of prototype theory, Rosch, (1978) and radial categories,
Lakoff, (1987). The meanings of a polysemy in a spatial preposition can be seen as
a big semantic network of related sense. Langacker has achievements in researching
on a pair of well-known trajector and landmark to create the basis of image schemas
for studying prepositions. Moreover, according to Johnson, 1987, an arrangement of
image schemas are offered in cognitive semantics to aid using structure our physical
experience, and a number of metaphors which help to map the structure of a
concrete source domain onto an abstract target domain. It is very important to use
these tools in determining the relation of spatial meanings to non-spatial ones of the
prepositions. Lakoff's research is considered as a well-known study on construction
grammar in cognition linguistics. And these are the theoretical basis for me to solve
the problems in my thesis.
In Vietnam, prepositions havebeen chosenas researching participants in the
thesis. There are famous researches such as the Nguyen LaiPh.D.’s research “Group
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of prepositions of movement in Vietnamese” or Tran Quang Hai Ph.D.'s thesis,
(2001) “Research on orientational prepositions in pragmatics”; Le Van Thanh
Ph.D. ‘s researchor Nguyen Canh HoaPh.D.’s thesis, (2001) “Research on grammar
and semantics of prepositions in English and their Vietnamese equivalents”. These
are the pioneering thesis of spatial prepositions in Vietnam that deeply went into the
prepositions and contrast with the Vietnamese based on the semantic structure
approach combined with the cognitive linguistic approach. Therefore, it would be
very difficult to study the new point if following this approach.
All previous studies above showed the problems of prepositions in the
structure-semantic aspects. Thesestudies showed that the development of cognitive
linguistics asexamining semantic development (conceptualization processes) in
Vietnam and in the world in recent years that explain further on issues.
However,cognitive linguistics is still a new area in Vietnam, the application of this
approach is mainly at the beginning that causes some limitations, especially in
giving the Vietnamese equivalents of prepositions or other problems related to
prepositions. Therefore,the advantages of the semantic structure approach are
combined with using new results in the cognitive approach that help me to find the
solutions for readers as well as learners of foreign languages, to solve difficulties of
prepositions.
2.2.Cognitive Linguistics
In this chapter, cognitive semantic framework of the study will be presented.
Specifically, cognitive linguistics and cognitive semantics theory will be briefly
discussed in 2.2 and 2.3; semantic perspectives on spatial prepositions will be
demonstrated in 2.4; several primary notions in cognitive semantics employed to
investigate meanings of spatial prepositions will be explicitly put forward in 2.5.
Cognitive Linguistics grew out of the work of a number of researchers active
in the 1970s who were interested in the relation of language and mind, and who did
not follow the prevailing tendency to explain linguistic patterns by means of appeals
to structural properties internal to and specific to language. Rather than attempting
to segregate syntax from the rest of language in a 'syntactic component' governed by
a set of principles and elements specific to that component, the line of research
followed instead was to examine the relation of language structure to things outside
language: cognitive principles and mechanisms not specific to language, including

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principles of human categorization; pragmatic and interactional principles; and
functional principles in general, such as iconicity and economy.
Cognitive Linguistics is a new approach to the study of language which
views linguistic knowledge as part of general cognition and thinking; linguistic
behavior is not separated from other general cognitive abilities which allow mental
processes of reasoning, memory, attention or learning, but understood as an integral
part of it. It emerged in the late seventies and early eighties, especially through the
work of George Lakoff, one of the founders of Generative Semantics, and Ronald
Langacker, also an ex-practitioner of Generative Linguistics. As a consequence, this
new paradigm could be seen as a reaction against the dominant generative paradigm
which pursues an autonomous2 view of language (see Ruiz de Mendoza, 1997).
The most influential linguists working along these lines and focusing
centrally on cognitive principles and organization were Wallace Chafe, Charles
Fillmore, George Lakoff, Ronald Langacker, and Leonard Talmy. Each of these
linguists began developing their own approach to language description and
linguistic theory, centered on a particular set of phenomena and concerns. One of
the important assumptions shared by all of these scholars is that meaning is so
central to language that it must be a primary focus of study. Linguistic structures
serve the function of expressing meanings and hence the mappings between
meaning and form are a prime subject of linguistic analysis. Linguistic forms, in
this view, are closely linked to the semantic structures they are designed to express.
Semantic structures of all meaningful linguistic units can and should be
investigated.
By the late 1980s, the kinds of linguistic theory development being done in
particular by Fillmore, Lakoff, Langacker, and Talmy, although appearing radically
different in the descriptive mechanisms proposed, could be seen to be related in
fundamental ways. Fillmore's ideas had developed into Frame Semantics and, in
collaboration with others, Construction Grammar (Fillmore et al. 1988). Lakoff was
well-known for his work on metaphor and metonymy (Lakoff 1981 and Lakoff
1987). Langacker's ideas had evolved into an explicit theory known first as Space
Grammar and then Cognitive Grammar (Langacker 1988). Talmy had published a
number of increasingly influential papers on linguistic imaging systems (Talmy
1985a,b and 1988).

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Scientific frameworks are not just sets of concepts, models, and
techniques: they also consist of people, activities, and channels of
communication. Thinking in terms of people, the key figures of Cognitive
Linguistics are George Lakoff, Ronald W. Langacker, and Leonard Talmy.
Around this core of founding fathers, who originated Cognitive Linguistics in the
late 1970s and the early 1980s, two chronologically widening circles of cognitive
linguists may be discerned. A first wave, coming to the fore in the second half of
the 1980s, consists of the early collaborators and colleagues of the key figures,
together with a first generation of students.
More generally, the rising interest in empirical methods is far from being a
dominant tendency, and overall, there is a certain reluctance with regard to the
adoption of an empirical methodology. While the reasons for this relative lack of
enthusiasm may to some extent be practical (training in experimental techniques or
corpus research is not a standard part of curricula in linguistics), one cannot exclude
the possibility of a more principled rejection. Cognitive Linguistics considers itself
to be a nonobjectivist theory of language, whereas the use of corpus materials
involves an attempt to maximalize the objective basis of linguistic descriptions. Is
an objectivist methodology compatible with a nonobjectivist theory? Isn't any
attempt to reduce the role of introspection and intuition in linguistic research
contrary to the spirit of Cognitive Linguistics, which stresses the semantic aspects
of the language—and the meaning of linguistic expressions is the least tangible of
linguistic phenomena.
According to Croft & Cruse,( 2004); Evans & Green, (2006); Langacker,
(1987), cognitive linguistics is a modern school of linguistic study and practice, has
been of special interest since it emerged in the late seventies and early eighties. It is
primarily concerned with investigating the relationship between human language,
the mind and socio-physical experience.
According to Johnson, (1987), to put it in another way, this paradigm views
linguistic knowledge as part of general cognition and thinking; linguistic behavior is
not separated from other general cognitive abilities which allow mental processes of
reasoning, memory, attention or learning, but understood as an integral part of it.
Such cognitive linguists therefore acknowledge that language is a part of, dependent
on and influenced by human cognition, including human perception and
categorization, and that language develops and changes through human interaction

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and experiences in the world. It is a reaction of modern linguists to truth-conditional
(objectivist) semantics and generative grammar which have been the dominant
approaches to the study of language meaning and grammatical form since the
middle of the last century. As a consequence much cognitive linguistic research has
focused on describing how concepts are organized (frames, domains, profiles, ICM)
and the range of conceptualization or construal operations as instances of more
general cognitive processes such as attention, comparison, perspective. Ultimately,
they all are grounded in our bodily experience, our need to make sense of the world
and to communicate.
It is very difficult to summarize in just a few words what the main theoretical
ideas underlying a linguistic paradigm are, especially in a field as heterogeneous as
Cognitive Linguistics. However, if I had to be concise in describing its foundations,
I would consider the following as the main pillars of the whole theory:
(i)
Language is an integral part of cognition
(ii)
Language is symbolic in nature.
Language is understood as a product of general cognitive abilities.
Consequently, a cognitive linguist must be willing to accept what Lakoff (1990)
calls the „cognitive commitment‟, that is, s/he must be prepared to embrace the link
between language and other cognitive faculties because linguistic theory and
methodology must be consistent with what is empirically known about cognition,
the brain and language. This position is based on a functional approach to language.
Cognitive Linguistics explains the link between perception and cognition in these
two examples on the basis of our conceptual organisation. We perceive and
understand these two processes as related. On the basis of our experience as human
beings, we see similarities between vision and knowledge, and it is because of these
similarities that we conceptualise them as related concepts. For cognitive linguists,
language is not structured arbitrarily. It is motivated and grounded more or less
directly in experience, in our bodily, physical, social, and cultural experiences
because after all, “we are beings of the flesh” (Johnson 1992). This notion of a
„grounding‟ is known in Cognitive Linguistics as „embodiment‟ (Johnson, 1987;
Lakoff, 1987; Lakoff and Johnson, 1980, 1999) and finds its philosophical roots in
the phenomenological tradition (Merleau-Ponty, 1962, 1963; Rosch, (1993).
For Cognitive Linguistics, however, this distinction is not strict. Meanings
are cognitive structures embedded in our patterns of knowledge and belief. They

9


reflect the mental categories which people have created from their experiences of
growing up and acting in the world. Conventional meanings arise from experience
and knowledge and our complex conceptual structures are invoked in language use
and comprehension. Furthermore, the fact that our experience-based knowledge is
present in linguistic meaning at every level implies that there is not a strict
distinction between lexicon and grammar. This means that firstly lexicon and
grammar form a continuum (Langacker, 1987), that they cannot be treated as
autonomous modules as postulated in Chomsky linguistics; secondly, on the
continuum, they correspond to very specific conceptualisation, i.e. the lexicon for
specific entities or relations, the grammar for more abstract conceptualisations.
According to Ronald Langacker, Cognitive linguistics practice could be
divided into two main areas: cognitive semantics and cognitive grammar. Cognitive
grammar, the model language developed by is concerned with modeling the
language system rather than the nature of mind itself. Cognitive linguistics assures
that grammar is conceptualization. According to Jensen, (2004), people use
grammar or language to conceptualize their experiences to express them. However,
it does so by taking the conclusions of research in cognitive semantics.

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2.3.A brief overview of cognitive semantics
Cognitive semantics is part of the cognitive linguistics movement. Cognitive
semantics is typically used as a tool for lexical studies such as those put forth
by Leonard Talmy, George Lakoff, Dirk Geeraerts and Bruce Wayne Hawkins.
Cognitive semantic theories are typically built on the argument that lexical
meaning is conceptual. That is, the meaning of a lexeme is not reference to the
entity or relation in the "real world" that the lexeme refers to, but to a concept in the
mind based on experiences with that entity or relation.
According to researchers Rosch, (1973); Lakoff & Johnson, (1980); Lakoff,
(1987); Johnson, (1987); Langacker, (1987, 1990, 1999), cognitive semantics is part
of cognitive linguistics movement, is concerned with investigating the relationship
between experience, the conceptual system, and the semantic structure encoded by
language. In specific terms, scholars working in cognitive semantics investigate
knowledge representation (conceptual structure), and meaning construction
(conceptualization). Therefore, cognitive semantics studies much of the area
traditionally devoted to pragmatics as well as semantics.
Cognitive semantics is not a single unified framework, but there are four
guiding principles that collectively characterize cognitive semantics.These
principles can be stated as follows:
The first principle is conceptual structure is embodied. According to
Geerarts, (1993),Talmy, (1985-2000),Taylor, (1989), we have a specific view of the
world due to the nature of our body. The experience we have of the world is
significant to the way we understand it. What we understand from the world
through our perception becomes our knowledge of it. From this point of view, the
human mindmust bear the imprint of embodied experience. This position holds that
conceptual is a consequence of the nature of our body embodiment. In other words,
cognitive semanticists set out to explore the nature of human interaction with and
awareness of the external world, and to build a theory of conceptual structure that is
consonant with the ways in which we experience the world.
The concept associated with containment is an instance of what cognitive
linguists call an image schema. In the cognitive model, the image-schematic
concept represents one of the ways in which bodily experience gives rise to
meaningful concepts. While the concept CONTAINER is grounded in the directly

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embodied experience of interacting with bounded landmarks, imageschematic
conceptual structure can also give rise to more abstract kinds of meaning.
The second principle issemantic structure is conceptual structure. According
to Gardenfords,(1994), language refers to what speakers have in mind, i.e. concepts
about the real world rather than to entities of the external world. When someone say
something, the meaning of his/her utterances come from his head where concepts
are stored. Thus, meaning is “conceptual grounded”. According to Rosch, (1973),
semantic structure (the meaning conventionally associated with words and other
linguistic units) can be equated with conceptual structure (i.e. concepts). However,
the semantic structure and conceptual structure are not identical. According to
Evans & Green, (2006), the meanings associated with linguistic units such as words
arise from only subset of possible concepts in the mind of speakers and hearers.
After all, we have many more thoughts, ideas, and feelings than we can
conventionally encode in language.
However, the claim that semantic structure can be equated with conceptual
structure does not mean that the two are identical. Instead, cognitive semanticists
claim that the meanings associated with words, for example, form only a subset of
possible concepts.
According to Langacker, (1987), there is no English word that
conventionally encodes this concept (at least not in the non-specialist vocabulary of
everyday language). It follows that the set of lexical concepts is only a subset of the
entire set of concepts in the mind of the speaker. Truthfully, we have concepts in the
first place either because they are useful ways of understanding the external world,
or because they are inevitable ways of understanding the world, given our cognitive
architecture and our physiology.
The third principle is meaning representation is encyclopedic. According to
Langacker, (2007), meaning is not represented only by lexical concepts in our mind.
This means lexical concept do not represent a complete package of meaning as we
may see in a dictionary.
The fourth principle is meaning construction is conceptualization that
confirms that language itself does not encode meaning, but evokes prompts for the
construction of meaning. The meaning of linguistic expressions does not relate
directly or objectively to the real world, but rather it is based on our ways of
experiencing or conceptualizing the real world.

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2.4.Spatial prepositions and semantic perspectives on spatial prepositions
Prepositions in English are words that illustrate the relationship between the
noun which follows it and other words in the sentence such as place or position,
direction, time, manner, and agent. Prepositions may be one word or a prepositional
phrase. They’re always followed by a noun which is the “object” of the preposition.
In this part, we get some knowledge of spatial prepositions. "Spatial prepositions"
are preposition that express a spatial relationship.
According to Cuyckens, (1993), spatial prepositions express how two entities
relate to each other in space. In other words, these spatial prepositions describe a
relation between an ordered pair of arguments x and y in which the spatial
preposition indicates the location of an entity x with respect to an entity y, or better
with respect to the place referred to by the entityy. According to Cuyckens, (1993),
spatial prepositions are often used in describing spatial relation in natural language.
It indicate relation between two arguments, x and y, how they relate to each other in
the spatial relation and non-spatial relation.
According to Finegan, (2004), prepositions expressing spatial relations are of
two kinds: prepositions of location and prepositions of direction. Prepositions of
location or spatial prepositions appear with verbs describing states or conditions,
especially be; prepositions of direction appear with verbs ofmotion. Prepositions
describing spatial relations are used in so many abstract domains that one may
wonder whether they deserve to be called “spatial prepositions”.
According to Bowerman & Choi, (2001), the fact that “spatial words emerge
over a long period of time in a relatively consistent order, both within children
learning the same language and across children learning different languages” leads
to the idea of a correspondence between spatial concepts and their expressions. In
the case of spatial relational terms, it is assumed that the spatial preposition marks a
child’s knowledge about an appropriate spatial relation.
According to Leech, (1969) and Bennett, (1975), prepositional meaning is
defined as a core sense. All the uses of preposition are reduced to the core sense.
This core sense (or core meaning) occurs in a variety of contexts. These contexts
introduce nuances of meaning that can be assigned to the preposition, but the core
sense is in all of them, Miller and Johnson-Laird, (1976); Herskovits, (1986);
Wierzbika,(1993).

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According to Ciencki, (1989), prepositions are polysemy. There is a
prototypical sense and other non-prototypical senses. There is a preference rule
system that determines the prototype which is always a spatial relation. The
different senses of a preposition can be derived from a basic image-schema by
means of family resemblances and image schema transformations ,
Brugman,(1980); Linder,(1983); Hawkin, (1984); Lakoff,(1987); Cuycken,(1988,
1993).
According to Langacker, (1987), the terms trajector and landmark are used
in describing a spatial relation. According to Langacker, (1980), Taylor, (1989), the
landmark is a salient entity that provides a point of reference for locating the
trajectory. According to Talmy, (2000), it is preferred to use the terms primary and
secondary objects.
According to Rice, (1996), a preposition possesses its own lexical meaning
because it stands apart from a noun or pronoun with which different prepositions
can be used. In other words, a preposition has its lexical meaning on the one hand,
and a lexical viability. We support this point of view which logically leads to the
fact that the existence of an independent lexical meaning presupposes the existence
of some semantic kernel around which some additional peripheral meanings are
grouped. There is no unique approach to what a lexical meaning of a preposition is
and some consider it as "relationship between words", as an extra linguistic aspect
and phenomenon. The semantic perspective on prepositions is somewhat trickier to
account for, since it is possible to draw an intricate network of meanings around
each preposition.
In Cognitive Linguistics, especially in Langacker’s Cognitive Grammar (also
called space grammar), it is claimed that grammatical structures are “inherently
symbolic, providing for the structuring and conventional symbolization of
conceptual content”. When using a locative preposition, it is assumed that the
speaker marks the understanding of a spatial relation and the understanding of a
preposition means the appropriate spatial relation is being processed. According to
Grabowski, (1999) explains that the meaning of spatial prepositions needed for its
use affects the nature of spatial relations. In Linguistics, it is also assumed that in
understanding a word such as a spatial preposition, the hearer needs the appropriate
“lexical competence” also related to as: lexical knowledge. In other words, the
hearer should have knowledge of the meaning of this word, which specifies the

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affiliated spatial relation. The correlated relation plays, therefore, an important role
in processing a spatial preposition.
According to Tyler & Evans, (2003); Cienki, (1989); Herskovits, (1986); the
prototypical meaning of most prepositions is always a spatial relation, and other
meanings can be derived from this one. According to Langacker, (1987), in
describing a relational expression of a spatial preposition, used the terms trajector
(TR) and landmark (LM). The figure of which the location is indicated is the TR
whereas the reference point specifying the location is the LM, and so does Taylor,
(1989), explicitly following him, whereas Talmy, (2000) prefers to speak about
primary and secondary objects. In the present research study, Langacker’s binomial
trajector vs. landmark will be employed. This literal meaning is the one that is learnt
earliest by native speakers and it often refers to the physicalworld.
Likewise, Tyler and Evans (2003) discuss a primary sense around which a
semantic network can be drawn. The literal, the primary, and the basic meaning all
seem to refer to the same thing - it is a spatial meaning that relates the trajector and
the landmark to each other. Taylor and Evans (2003) also show that the way the
spatial meaning of prepositions can be used to describe non-spatial relations is
highly motivated. Thus, learners of English would find prepositions a less
problematic area if they just understood the logic behind their usage.
2.5. Cognitive semantics approach to prepositions
2.5.1 Spatial domain and dimensionality
Any kind of conceptualization, regardless of its degree of complexity, can
function as a domain or context in the characterization of semantic structure. By this
we are not referring to a textual, syntagmatic or pragmatic context, but rather to a
field of experience or human knowledge, whether it is naturally or culturally
established. Each domain has its particular specifications or parameters. There are
very basic domains, such as time, space, smell, color, etc., and very complex ones,
related to marginal or more elaborated fields of experience. The domain in which
prepositions are conceptualized is three-dimensional space.
According to Günter Radden & René Dirven, (2007), the three canonical
dimensions of space consist of height, length and width. They are conceptualized in
language, and more specifically, in prepositional usage, as zero-dimensional, onedimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional.

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According to Günter Radden & René Dirven, (2007), the three canonical
dimensions of space consist of height, length and width. They are conceptualized in
language, and more specifically, in prepositional usage, as zero-dimensional, onedimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional. Zero-dimensional is the case
when the LM entity is conceived of as a point with irrelevant internal structure.
When the LM entity is conceptualized as having a vertical or horizontal axis, as in
‘the child by the flagpole’ and ‘a cruise down the river’, the dimension is onedimensional. When the LM entity is conceptualized as an extended entity, it is twodimensional. And three-dimensional is the case when the area is conceptualized as
having volume. Not only the landmark entity but also the trajector is conceptualized
accordingly in relation to its canonical dimensions: however, in prepositional usage
it is the LM entity that bears directly upon the choice of preposition, which is
appropriate in each case. The concept of dimensionality derives directly from the
intrinsic characteristics of the spatial domain that prepositions describe. In short, we
can conceive of three dimensions of spatial prepositions: vertical, horizontal, and
extension. In practice, this means that an objects can be conceptualized as a dot
(zero-dimensional), as a line (one-dimensional), as an extended area (twodimensional), or as an area with volume / container (three-dimensional).
In short, three dimensions of spatial prepositions can be conceived such as
vertical, horizontal, and extension. Practically, an object can be conceptualized as a
dot (zero-dimensional), as a line (one-dimensional), as an extended area (twodimensional), or as an area with volume / container (three-dimensional).
2.5.2. Spatial characteristics of trajectors (TR) and landmarks (LM)
According to Langacker, (1987), all relational predicates involve an LM as
part of their profile, regardless of whether the LM is syntactically specified or not.
Linguistic convention allows for non-specification of the LM in cases like the
following: when it is unique in its class; when the context, either pragmatic or
textual, permits a clear identification, or in the case of reflexivity.
For the analysis, the following characteristics should be considered when
describing the TR and LM entities: dimensions of TR and LM; forms of TR and
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LM (vertical, horizontal or extended), whether the TR is singular or multiplex,
whether it is static or dynamic, if there is contact or not between TR and LM, if
there is reflexivity, deixis, covering, type of trajectory, if there is real or implied
motion, if there is end-point focus, etc.
2.5.3. Categorization and semantic structure
A category is a group of referents that are related to one another by
perceptual and propositional similarity. To categorize is to conceptualize and to
classify. It affects all cognitive processes and perceptions and language and speech.
Cognitive linguistics considered as a fundamental premise the innate validity of the
prototypical conception of categorization, viewing it as natural and deriving from
the neurological constitution of human beings. In the linguistic field, specifically in
the aspect of prepositions, there are several types of basic conceptual structure such
as: image schemas; prototypes & radial networks and semantic factors.
2.5.3.1.Image schemas
An image schema is a recurring structure within our cognitive processes which
establishes patterns of understanding and reasoning. Image schemas are formed from
our bodily interactions,from linguistic experience, and from historical
context. According to George Lakoff, (1987), the most important theoretical notion in
cognitive semantics is an image schema. Image schemas are formed from our bodily
interactions, from linguistic experience, and from historical context. Image schemas
transcend particular modes of perception. They are not merely visual, but rather
kinesthetic in nature. Lakoff said that the CONTAINER schema would work as the
basis for understanding the body as container, the visual field, and set models, among
others. The PART-WHOLE schema is transferred to domains such as families, teams,
organizations, marriage, etc. The SOURCE-PATH schema gives the clue for purposes
in our daily life as destinations of a journey. Other image schemas are: PROXIMITYDISTANCE which determines close and distant relationships; FRONT-BACK
orientation; LINEAR order; UP-DOWN; MASS VS MULTIPLEX, etc.
According to Lakoff, these image schemas might be so deeply grounded in
common human experience that they constitute universal prelinguistic cognitive
structures. Many of the schemas clearly derive from the most immediate of all our
experiences, our experience of the human body. These image schemas lead to
primary conceptualizations in the domain of physical experience and will define the
primigenial use of words. According to Lakoff & Brugman,( 1988); Boers, (1996);
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