LINGUIST List 23.976

Mon Feb 27 2012

Diss: Applied Ling: Farsani: 'Conceptualization of the Semantics of ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <>

Date: 26-Feb-2012
From: Hussen Farsani <>
Subject: Conceptualization of the Semantics of Phrasal Verbs in English as a Foreign Language: A cognitive linguistics perspective
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Institution: University of Isfahan Program: TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language Dissertation Status: Completed Degree Date: 2012

Author: Hussein M. Farsani

Dissertation Title: Conceptualization of the Semantics of Phrasal Verbs in English as a Foreign Language: A cognitive linguistics perspective

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Director:
Mansoor Tavakoli Saeed Ketabi Abbas Eslami Rasekh Mohammad Reza Talebinezhad Ahmad Moinzadeh
Dissertation Abstract:

Learning the behavior and meaning of phrasal verbs in English can provechallenging to the foreign language learner. This is mainly because suchverbs sometimes display non-conventional, figurative senses as a result oftheir unique combinations with various prepositional/adverbial particles.More importantly however, the non-native speaker has not had the chances togo through the conceptualizing experiences of native speakers of thelanguage due to the absence of a culturally/socially-inspired experientiallanguage setting giving rise to certain image-schematic patterns asenvisaged in Cognitive Linguistics (CL).

The present study takes this issue as its point of departure and makes anattempt to examine whether pedagogically-designed picture-cued tasks ofvarious levels of abstraction revealing the image-schematic concepts behindphrasal verbs could take child and young adult learners through similarcontext-embedded experiences so as to enhance their learning andappropriate use of such verbs. For this purpose, 36 children aged 7-11 and56 young adult learners aged 12-18 at intermediate levels of Englishproficiency were selected based on their scores on a placement test andwent through the process of learning 42 phrasal verbs in two experimentaland two control groups each comprising 18 participants for children and 28learners for young adults respectively.

Comparison of the results from the pre-, post-, and a delayed post-testreveal a positive effect for picture-cued tasks (in contrast to meredescriptive dictionary definitions) raising learners' awareness toward theimage-schematic concepts behind English phrasal verbs. This is especiallytrue for young adult participants in their experimental group where thelevel of significance of the results was generally higher than that for thechild experimental group.

The study also carries implications for foreign language pedagogy as thetasks particularly designed for the purposes of this study could be addedto the body of effective tasks available in Task-Based Language Teaching(TBLT).

Page Updated: 27-Feb-2012