The Semantics of English Prepositions

The Semantics of English Prepositions : Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning, and Cognition

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Using a cognitive linguistics perspective, this book provides a comprehensive, theoretical analysis of the semantics of English prepositions. All English prepositions originally coded spatial relations between two physical entities; while retaining their original meaning, prepositions have also developed a rich set of non-spatial meanings. In this study, Tyler and Evans argue that all these meanings are systematically grounded in the nature of human spatio-physical experience. The original 'spatial scenes' provide the foundation for the extension of meaning from the spatial to the more abstract. This analysis articulates an alternative methodology that distinguishes between a conventional meaning and an interpretation produced for understanding the preposition in context, as well as establishing which of several competing senses should be taken as the primary sense. Together, the methodology and framework are sufficiently articulated to generate testable predictions and allow the analysis to be applied to additional prepositions.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 268 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 26mm | 573g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 54 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521814308
  • 9780521814300
  • 2,597,301

Table of contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. The nature of meaning; 2. Embodied meaning and spatial experience; 3. Towards a model of principled polysemy: spatial scenes and conceptualization; 4. The semantic network for over; 5. The vertical axis; 6. Spatial particles of orientation; 7. Bounded landmarks; 8. Conclusion; References; Index.
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Review quote

'The authors present a very detailed descriptive analysis ... this well-produced and well-edited book is highly relevant for linguists interested in (cognitive) lexical semantics, polysemy, and spatial particles.' Journal of Linguistics
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About Andrea Tyler

Andrea Tyler is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She teaches a range of courses which largely focus on applications of linguistic theory to issues of second language learning and teaching. She has published in numerous journals. Vyvyan Evans is Lecturer in Linguistics at the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences, University of Sussex. He teaches a range of courses in general linguistics at undergraduate and post-graduate level. His research focuses on conceptual structure and semantics.
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