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LINGUIST List 19.472

Sun Feb 10 2008

Diss: Applied Ling/Lang Acq: Matula: 'Incorporating a Cognitive Lin...'

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        1.    Suzanne Matula, Incorporating a Cognitive Linguistic Presentation of the Prepositions 'on', 'in' and 'at' in ESL Instruction: A quasi-experimental study


Message 1: Incorporating a Cognitive Linguistic Presentation of the Prepositions 'on', 'in' and 'at' in ESL Instruction: A quasi-experimental study
Date: 09-Feb-2008
From: Suzanne Matula <slmatulayahoo.com>
Subject: Incorporating a Cognitive Linguistic Presentation of the Prepositions 'on', 'in' and 'at' in ESL Instruction: A quasi-experimental study
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Institution: Georgetown University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Suzanne Matula

Dissertation Title: Incorporating a Cognitive Linguistic Presentation of the Prepositions 'on', 'in' and 'at' in ESL Instruction: A quasi-experimental study

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Andrea Tyler

Dissertation Abstract:

Cognitive linguistic research has developed semantic network analyses of
prepositions, in which extended senses are motivated from a central or
proto-sense (Beitel, et al., 2001; Deane, 2005; Dewell, 1996; Evans &
Tyler, 2004; Kreitzer, 1997; Lakoff, 1987; Taylor, 1988; Tyler & Evans,
2003, 2004; Vandeloise, 2003). These networks allow multiple senses of
prepositions to be presented as a unified network, rather than as arbitrary
and unrelated.

This contrasts with traditional presentations in ESL instruction, in which
the multiple senses are presented using rules, which often do not account
for everyday language use. Perhaps as a result, even advanced English
language learners experience difficulty with prepositions, especially their
non-spatial uses (Celce-Murcia & Larsen Freeman, 1999; Lindstromberg, 1998;
MacLennan, 1994). Given this difficulty, cognitive linguistic research has
been argued to have value for language instruction (Boers & Demechleer,
1998; Deane, 1988; Dirven, et al., 1989; Lindstromberg, 1998; Taylor,
1993b; Tyler & Evans, 2004).

This study explores the effect of incorporating a cognitive presentation of
the spatial and temporal senses of the English prepositions on, in and at
in ESL classroom instruction. Intermediate level learners (n=20) in two
intact classes received instructional treatment of the prepositions based
on either a cognitive linguistic or a more traditional presentation. The
cognitive treatment included an introduction to tools which were used to
motivate the extended senses of the prepositions from the spatial sense,
emphasizing the functional aspect of the prepositions.

Performance was measured with pre-, post- and delayed post-test (with
multiple tasks), and introspective data. The data was analyzed on both a
group and individual basis. The results did not demonstrate an overall
benefit for the cognitive presentation; neither group significantly
outperformed the other on all measures. However, the results suggest
positive effects of the cognitive presentation including more consistent
increases in correct use across the senses and tasks. They also indicate
the presence of cognitive aspects for the non-cognitive group participants,
suggesting a heuristic value for language learners. It is argued that these
results demonstrate a value of a cognitive presentation in classroom
instruction, and support the pedagogical applications of cognitive
linguistic theory.





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