Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Second Language Learning by Jeannette Littlemore

By Jeannette Littlemore

Cognitive linguistics is a comparatively new self-discipline that is quickly changing into mainstream and influential, rather within the quarter of moment language instructing. This booklet appears at how cognitive linguistics can tell our educating, and bring about interesting feedback for alternative routes of featuring grammar and vocabulary within the language lecture room.

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This is the area of ‘manner-of-movement’ verbs. When describing movement we can focus either on the direction of the movement or the manner of movement. Talmy (1985, 2000) categorizes languages into two types, in terms of the ways in which they habitually construe movement. According to Talmy, in ‘satelliteframed’ languages (such as English), the focus is on the manner; manner of movement is thus expressed within the verb, and the direction of movement is expressed through a preposition, as in to dash in; to slip out; to creep up, and to eat away.

The same can be said for the definite article (which is used for many different reasons in English) and highly polysemeous words such as prepositions. Thus Ellis argues that the polysemy of prepositions means that they do not lend themselves well to contingency learning. In terms of construal systems, this would mean that if a particular form is regularly associated with a particular way of construing a scene or event, then this will be more readily learned than a form that corresponds to several different construal patterns.

This idea is discussed in more detail below. 5 Categorization As we saw in Chapter 1, one of the key tenets of cognitive linguistics is that the development of language involves the same cognitive processes that we use for understanding the world in general. One of the first things that we do with information about the world is that we try and sort it into categories, and the language we use reflects this fact. Indeed, categorization has attracted a great deal of interest in cognitive linguistics, as it is one of the first things we do when we try to make sense of the world around us.

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