The semantics of English prepositions
Evans, Vyvyan and Tyler, Andrea (2003) The semantics of English prepositions Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9780521814300
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Using a cognitive linguistics perspective, this book provides the most comprehensive, theoretical analysis of the semantics of English prepositions available. 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 innovative 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 a new 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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