• Mladen Popović




image schemas, prepositions, contrastive analysis, cognitive linguistics


Prepositions as a grammatical category are highly resistant to propositional definitions and as such they present a significant challenge not only for semantic analysis but also for in-class descriptions, each preposition generating a network of senses with no easily discernible core meaning. These factors contribute to a relative lack of theoretical frameworks devoted to prepositional meaning, preposition translation as well as effective methods via which they could be taught. This paper argues that a useful model for translation and teaching of prepositions can be derived from a revised form of Image Schema theory. For this purpose, a contrastive analysis of two prepositions – the English OVER and Serbian PREKO was performed, with the aim of demonstrating how Image Schema theory, with its inherent focus on universally understandable spatial scenes can easily account for divergent senses of translation-equivalent prepositions. Furthermore, the paper argues that the language-neutral medium of visual scene description provides a natural basis for a ‘tertium comparationis’, while also serving as a useful starting point for language teaching as it circumvents many of the problems inherent in propositional definitions.


Download data is not yet available.


Boers, F., and M. Demecheleer. “A Cognitive Semantic Approach to Teaching Prepositions.” ELT Journal 52, no. 3 (1998): 197–204. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/52.3.197.

Boers, Frank. “Cognitive Semantic Ways of Teaching Figurative Phrases.” Review of Cognitive Linguistics Metaphor and metonymy revisited beyond the Contemporary Theory of Metaphor 9, no. 1 (2011): 227–61. https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.9.1.11boe.

Clausner, Timothy C., and William Croft. “Domains and Image Schemas.” Cognitive Linguistics 10, no. 1 (1999): 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1999.001.

Dewell, Robert B. “Over again: Image-Schema Transformations in Semantic Analysis.” Cognitive Linguistics 5, no. 4 (1994): 351–80. https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1994.5.4.351. Johnson, Mark. The Body in the Mind The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Geeraerts, Dirk, and Todd Oakley. “Image Schemas.” Essay. In The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics, 214–32. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Gibbs, Raymond W., and Herbert L. Colston. “The Cognitive Psychological Reality of Image Schemas and Their Transformations.” Cognitive Linguistics 6, no. 4 (1995): 347–78. https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1995.6.4.347.

Grady, Joseph E., Beate Hampe, and Tim Rohrer. “Image Schemata in the Brain .” Essay. In From Perception to Meaning: Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics, 165–96. Berlin ;Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2008.

Hampe, Beate. “Image Schemas in Cognitive Linguistics: Introduction.” Cognitive Linguistics Research From Perception to Meaning, 2005, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110197532.0.1.

Hung, Bui Phui Vien, Truong Vien, and Nguyen Ngoc Vu. “Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Teaching English Prepositions: A Quasi-Experimental Study.” International Journal of Instruction. International Journal of Instruction. Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Faculty of Education, Eskisehir, 26480, Turkey. e-mail: iji@ogu.edu.tr; Web site: http://www.e-iji.net, June 30, 2018. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1183431.

James, Carl. Contrastive Analysis. Harlow: Longman, 1981.

Johnson, Mark. The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Klikovac, Duška. Semantika predloga: studija iz kognitivne lingvistike. Beograd: Filološki fakultet, 2016.

Kreitzer, Anatol. “Multiple Levels of Schematization: A Study in the Conceptualization of Space.” Cognitive Linguistics 8, no. 4 (1997): 291–326. https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1997.8.4.291.

Lakoff, George. Women, Fire and Dangerous Things: What Categories Tell Us about the Nature of Thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.

Lam, Yvonne. “Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Teaching the Spanish Prepositions.” Language Awareness. Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals, January 31, 2009. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ861993.

Lindstromberg, Seth. “Prepositions: Meaning and Method.” ELT Journal 50, no. 3 (1996): 225–36. https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/50.3.225.

Lompar, Vesna. Vrste reči i gramatička praksa. Beograd: Društvo za srpski jezik i književnost Srbije, 2016.

Lorincz, Kristen, and Rebekah Gordon. “Difficulties in Learning Prepositions and Possible Solutions.” Linguistic Portfolis, 2012. https://www.academia.edu/38674412/Difficulties_in_Learning_Prepositions_and_Possible_Solutions.

Vandeloise, Claude. “Representation, prototypes, and centrality”. In Savas L. Tsohatzidis (ed.) Meanings and Prototypes: Studies in Linguistic Categorization (1990): 403-437. London: Routledge.


Englesko - Srpski prevodilac. Prevodilac, recnik, prevodenje teskta, online prevodilac. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://eprevodilac.com/prevodilac-engleski-srpski.

https://onlinerecnik.com, Z. V. |. (n.d.). Engleski-Srpski rečnik. onlinerecnik.com. Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://onlinerecnik.com/recnik/.

Srpsko-Engleski Rečnik Krstarice. Krstarica. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2021, from https://recnik.krstarica.com/?text=preko&conversion=&src=sr&dst=en&do=1.

Vitas , Duško, and Miloš Utvić. Corpus of contemporary Serbian language. Language, Resources and Technologies Society (JeRTeh, http://jerteh.rs), 2013. http://korpus.matf.bg.ac.rs/prezentacija /korpus.html.