Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics VIAL

Andrea Tyler (1), Charles Mueller (2) and Vu Ho (1): Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Learning the Semantics of English to, for and at: An Experimental Investigation. VIAL. Number 8/2011: 180-205


Recent years have witnessed growing interest in cognitive linguistics (CL) and its potential insights for L2 learning. However, few experimental investigations have applied a CL perspective to instructed L2 learning. English prepositions represent a promising target for the application of CL to instructed L2 learning since, contrary to traditional approaches, CL represents the many meanings associated with a single preposition as being systematically related in principled ways. This article lays out the fundamentals of a CL analysis of the semantics of English prepositions and reports on a quasi-experimental study examining the efficacy of applying a CL approach to instructed L2 learning of the semantics of English to, for and at. Comparison of pre- and post-test results show significant gain scores (p >.0003), indicating that the group of 14 advanced learners who received instruction based on a CL perspective experienced substantial improvement in their understanding of the semantics of the three prepositions.

Keywords: Applied cognitive linguistics, instructed second language learning, prepositions, English prepositions, semantics.

(1) Georgetown University, Washington DC, USA.
(2) George Washington University, Washington DC, USA.

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