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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HUE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES

BÙI PHÚ HƯNG

TEACHING ENGLISH PREPOSITIONS:
A COGNITIVE LINGUISTIC APPROACH

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY THESIS IN THEORY
AND METHODOLOGY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

HUE, 2019


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HUE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES

BÙI PHÚ HƯNG


TEACHING ENGLISH PREPOSITIONS:
A COGNITIVE LINGUISTIC APPROACH

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY THESIS IN THEORY
AND METHODOLOGY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

CODE: 9 14 01 11

SUPERVISORS:
Assoc. Prof. Trương Viên, PhD
Assoc. Prof. Nguyễn Ngọc Vũ, PhD

HUE, 2019


STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP

I certify my authorship of the PhD thesis submitted today entitled:
“TEACHING

ENGLISH

PREPOSITIONS:

A

COGNITIVE

LINGUISTIC APPROACH”
for the degree of Doctor of Education, is the result of my own research,
except where otherwise acknowledged, and that this thesis has not been submitted
for a higher degree at any other institution. To the best of my knowledge, the thesis
contains no material previously published or written by other people except where
the reference is made in the thesis itself.
Hue, ……………………………, 2018
Author’s signature

Bùi Phú Hưng

i


ABSTRACT

The present study aimed to investigate the effects of applying cognitive
linguistics (CL) to teaching the spatial and metaphorical senses of English
prepositions above, among, at, behind, beside, between, in, in front of, on and
under. It made attempts to apply the basic concepts in cognitive linguistics,
including embodiment theory, image schemas theory, conceptual metaphor theory
and domain mapping theory. Also, the integrated text and picture comprehension
(ITPC) model was applied to frame the class activities. A pretest-posttest betweengroup research design was adopted. The results of the pretest and pre-questionnaire
were used to select student participants who were then divided into two different
groups: cognitive group and traditional group. The findings revealed that the
cognitive group (M=27.00) outperformed the traditional group (M=22.36) in the
posttest in terms of both the spatial and metaphorical meanings.
The cognitive group participants also responded that they appreciated the
CL-based teaching of the prepositions more than the pedagogical applications
which their former teachers had previously applied in terms of both the spatial and
metaphorical meanings. Six out of 25 cognitive members responded that the teacher
should have added something fun to make the class more interested in the lesson.
Most of the participants believed that CL-based teaching was appropriate and
admitted that CL-based teaching had more positive effects on their knowledge of
the spatial meanings than that of the metaphorical meanings.
The findings suggest that future studies and practices in ELT which would
like to apply cognitive linguistics in EFL (English as a foreign language) classroom
could include songs or games in the post-teaching stage to make the class more
interesting. Future research could also apply cognitive linguistics to teaching other
prepositions in other contexts and employ a delayed posttest to measure EFL
students’ retention of knowledge.

ii


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

To conduct this doctoral thesis, I received much guidance and assistance
from my supervisors, the academic panel at Hue University of Foreign Languages –
Hue University, friends and students.
First of all, my great sincere thanks would go to my supervisors, Assoc. Prof.
Dr. Truong Vien at Hue University and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Vu at Ho
Chi Minh City University of Education. They constantly motivated me to complete
this thesis punctually and gave me great advice on how to conduct this doctoral
thesis. I really appreciated their supervision with theoretical background in
cognitive linguistics.
I also owe thanks to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Van Phuoc, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le
Pham Hoai Huong, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Thi Hong Nhung, Dr. Ton Nu Nhu
Huong, Dr. Truong Bach Le and other academic panelists at University of Foreign
Languages – Hue University for their advice on every single stage of conducting
this doctoral dissertation.
I am very grateful to all the teachers and student participants for their
assistance with participating in this study. Without them, there would have been no
chance for this PhD thesis to be completed.
My appreciation is extended to my family and friends for their support. They
recommended large resources of materials and shared my cheers and stress from
this thesis.

iii


ABBREVIATIONS
CL:

cognitive linguistics

CG:

cognitive group

EFL:

English as a foreign language

ELT:

English language teaching

GPA:

grade point average

ITPC model:

integrated text picture comprehension model

L1:

first language or native language

L2:

second language

LM:

landmark

OALD:

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

SD:

standard deviation

SLA:

second language acquisition

T:

total score

TG:

traditional group

TR:

trajectory

iv


TABLE OF CONTENTS
STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP ........................................................................... i
ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................ ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................iii
ABBREVIATIONS ................................................................................................ iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS ........................................................................................ v
LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................... viii
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ............................................................................ 1
1.1. Rationale .......................................................................................................... 1
1.2. Research Objectives.......................................................................................... 4
1.3. Research Questions........................................................................................... 4
1.4. Research Scope................................................................................................. 5
1.5. Significance of the Study .................................................................................. 5
1.6. Organization of the Thesis ................................................................................ 5
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW.................................................................. 7
2.1. Approaches in English Language Teaching ...................................................... 7
2.1.1. Contemporary Perspectives in English Language Teaching and Learning ...... 7
2.1.1.1 Interventionist Approach……………………………………………….....…7
2.1.1.2 Non-Interventionist Approach………………………………………………9
2.1.1.3 Integration of Interventionism and Non-Interventionism in EFL Context...10
2.1.2. The Place of CL in ELT ............................................................................... 10
2.2. Theoretical Framework ................................................................................. 13
2.2.1. CL’s Views of English Prepositions ............................................................. 13
2.2.1.1. Spatial Configurations of English Prepositions ......................................... 13
2.2.1.2. The Domain-Mapping Theory................................................................... 15
2.2.1.3. Conceptual Metaphors of English Prepositions ......................................... 16
2.2.2. Image Schema Theory ................................................................................ 19
2.2.2.1. Foundations of Image Schemas ................................................................. 19
2.2.2.2. Demonstrating the Senses of Prepositions with Image Schemas ................ 21
v


2.2.2.3. The Image Schemas Applied in this Study ................................................ 22
2.2.2.4. Incorporating CL into Teaching P
3,00
2,96
3,04
3,24
3,36

SD
,458
,476
,577
,539
,611
,572
,611
,500
,539
,611
,436
,490

Std.
Error
,092
,095
,115
,108
,122
,114
,122
,100
,108
,122
,087
,098

12

95%
Confidence
Interval of the
Difference
Lower Upper
- ,10705
,14705
,14705

,10705


Independent Samples Test
Levene's
Test for
Equality of
Variances

P3.1

P3.2

P3.3

P3.4

P3.5

P3.6

Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed

F
,366

,010

,016

1,265

,358

3,282

Sig.
,548

,922

,901

,266

,552

,076

t-test for Equality of Means

t
-,303

df
48

Sig.
(2tailed)
,763

-,303

47,930

,763

-,040

,132

-,306

,226

,253

48

,801

,040

,158

-,277

,357

,253

47,769

,801

,040

,158

-,278

,358

,239

48

,812

,040

,167

-,296

,376

,239

47,788

,812

,040

,167

-,296

,376

,253

48

,801

,040

,158

-,277

,357

,253

46,192

,801

,040

,158

-,278

,358

-,491

48

,626

-,080

,163

-,408

,248

-,491

47,254

,626

-,080

,163

-,408

,248

-,915

48

,365

-,120

,131

-,384

,144

-,915

47,360

,365

-,120

,131

-,384

,144

13

Mean
Diff.
-,040

SD
Error
Diff.
,132

95%
Confidence
Interval of the
Difference
Lower Upper
-,306
,226


Group Statistics
Group
(PART
4)
P4 CG
TG

N
25
25

Mean
3,0533
3,0200

SD
,22423
,24683

SD
Error
Mean
,04485
,04937

Independent Samples Test
Levene's
Test for
Equality of
Variances

P4

F
,054

Equal
variances
assumed

Sig.
,817

Equal
variances
not
assumed

t-test for Equality of Means

t
,500

df
48

Sig.
(2tailed)
,620

,500

47,564

,620

SD
,436
,542
,577
,493
,572
,572
,500
,572
,611
,572
,408
,473

SD
Error
,087
,108
,115
,099
,114
,114
,100
,114
,122
,114
,082
,095

Group Statistics
Group
P4.1 CG
TG
P4.2 CG
TG
P4.3 CG
TG
P4.4 CG
TG
P4.5 CG
TG
P4.6 CG
TG

N
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25

Mean
3,24
3,28
3,00
2,92
2,92
2,92
3,00
2,92
2,96
2,92
3,20
3,16

14

Mean
Difference
,03333

Std. Error
Difference
,06669

,03333

,06669

95%
Confidence
Interval of the
Difference
Lower Upper
- ,16743
,10076
,10080

,16746


Independent Samples Test
Levene's Test
for Equality
of Variances

P4.1

P4.2

P4.3

P4.4

P4.5

P4.6

Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed
Equal
variances
assumed
Equal
variances
not
assumed

F
1,865

,043

0,000

1,091

,016

,039

Sig.
,178

,836

1,000

,302

,901

,845

t-test for Equality of Means

t
-,288

df
48

Sig.
(2tailed)
,775

-,288

45,902

,775

-,040

,139

-,320

,240

,527

48

,601

,080

,152

-,225

,385

,527

46,859

,601

,080

,152

-,226

,386

0,000

48

1,000

0,000

,162

-,325

,325

0,000

48,000

1,000

0,000

,162

-,325

,325

,527

48

,601

,080

,152

-,225

,385

,527

47,166

,601

,080

,152

-,226

,386

,239

48

,812

,040

,167

-,296

,376

,239

47,788

,812

,040

,167

-,296

,376

,320

48

,750

,040

,125

-,211

,291

,320

47,008

,750

,040

,125

-,211

,291

15

Mean
Diff.
-,040

SD
Error
Diff.
,139

95%
Confidence
Interval of the
Difference
Lower Upper
-,320
,240


APPENDIX I4: COMPARISON OF TG’S AND CG'S MEAN SCORES:
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
Group Statistics
Group
Total
Pretest

N

Mean

SD Error
Mean

SD

CG

25

20,04

2,150

,430

TG

25

20,28

2,151

,430

Spatial
Pretest

CG

Metaphor
Pretest

CG

Total
Posttest

CG

Spatial
posttest

CG

Metaphor
Posttest

CG

25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25
25

12,68
12,80
7,36
7,48
27,00
22,36
17,04
13,04
9,96
9,32

2,304
1,958
1,440
1,735
4,243
3,796
2,850
2,371
2,282
3,105

,461
,392
,288
,347
,849
,759
,570
,474
,456
,621

TG
TG
TG
TG
TG

Descriptives

N
ToPr

Minimum

Maximum

2,150
2,151
2,132
2,304
1,958
2,117
1,440
1,735
1,579
4,243
3,796
4,622
2,850
2,371

,430
,430
,302
,461
,392
,299
,288
,347
,223
,849
,759
,654
,570
,474

19,15
19,39
19,55
11,73
11,99
12,14
6,77
6,76
6,97
25,25
20,79
23,37
15,86
12,06

20,93
21,17
20,77
13,63
13,61
13,34
7,95
8,20
7,87
28,75
23,93
25,99
18,22
14,02

17
17
17
8
9
8
5
5
5
19
18
18
13
9

23
23
23
17
16
17
10
13
13
37
33
37
25
19

CG

50
25

15,04
9,96

3,289
2,282

,465
,456

14,11
9,02

15,97
10,90

9
6

25
16

TG
Total

25
50

9,32
9,64

3,105
2,716

,621
,384

8,04
8,87

10,60
10,41

5
5

20
20

Total
CG
TG
Total
MPr

CG
TG
Total

ToPo

CG
TG
Total

SPo

CG
TG
Total

MPo

SD
Error

20,04
20,28
20,16
12,68
12,80
12,74
7,36
7,48
7,42
27,00
22,36
24,68
17,04
13,04

TG
SPr

SD

25
25
50
25
25
50
25
25
50
25
25
50
25
25

CG

Mean

95%
Confidence
Interval for
Mean
Lower Upper
Bound Bound

16



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