The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 8
2. Meaning. To help students learn spatial meanings and make basic distinctions between
prepositions, a chart with iconic images (like the figures presented in the "Meaning"
section of this chapter) can be used in class. Such a chart can assist learners in making
connections between the choice of preposition and the dimensions of the landmark.
As Yule (1998) suggests, students can be asked if reference points (landmarks) should
be considered as points, surfaces, or areas (p. 163). For example, what is the best
conceptualization for beach and water in these sentences?
We were at the beach. // We were on the beach.
We saw some boats in the water. // We saw some boats on the water.
3. Meaning. Clay modeling can also be used to emphasize spatial relationships. SerranoLopez and Poehner (2008) asked learners of Spanish to make models that reflected
underlying spatial concepts for Spanish prepositions. They can then be guided to create
models for English prepositions. In creating their own three-dimensional representations,
students are able to explore relationships between trajectors and landmarks in a very
4. Meaning. Various techniques exist for training students to see the core meaning of
a preposition within different uses of that preposition. Tyler and Evans (2004) make
suggestions for how to present extended senses for over. For the sense of A-B-C trajectory,
they recommend using a flip book (or a video clip that can be segmented into individual
frames) with images of a cat jumping over a wall. After showing all the images of the cat
moving from one side of the wall (point A) to the other side of the wall (point C), ask
students how the cat moved to point C. Then focus on the pages (or frames) where the cat
is suspended over the obstacle of the wall (point B). Note that these images correspond to
the core meaning of over, and that to use the preposition for this extended sense, the cat
must land on the other side of the wall.
Yule (1998) encourages learners to examine prepositions used in time expressions
(e.g., at 10 o'clock, on September 3rd, in January) and to think about the landmarks
within the prepositional phrases. How should the landmarks be perceived? Should
they be conceptualized as a specific point in time (10 o'clock), a restricted unit of time
(September 3rd), or an extended period of time (January)? This activity can be continued
by asking learners to sketch the landmarks in a way that represents the core spatial
meanings of the prepositions. Thus, 10 o'clock might be drawn as a dot-reflecting the
landmark of at as a point of orientation, September 3rd as a flat square-reflecting
the landmark of on as a two-dimensional surface, and January as a box-reflecting the
landmark of in as a three-dimensional container. Such sketches should help learners make
connections between spatial and more abstract meanings of prepositions.
5. Meaning. Lindstromberg (1996) outlines a systematic approach to teaching the
prototypical meanings of the prepositions,9 and how to treat their more abstract meanings
derived by metaphorical extensions. He illustrates his approach with the preposition on.
We don't have the space to report every step of the approach, but here is a synopsis.
Lindstromberg first uses classic approaches, such as the use of Total Physical Response
and schemata, to make the protypical place and goal meaning of a preposition clear; for
Chapter 21: Prepositions
The Grammar Book - Third Edition
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Grammar Book - Third Edition
Contents of The Grammar Book
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - Cover1
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - Cover2
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 1
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - Contents of The Grammar Book
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 3
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 4
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 5
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 6
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 7
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 8
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 9
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 10
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 11
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - 12
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - Cover3
The Grammar Book - Third Edition - Cover4