OVER AND PREKO – AN IMAGE SCHEMA-BASED APPROACH TO CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS
Keywords: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.
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