Elham Salem AL-Makatrah Adnan Mjali Almbaideen

The Conceptualization of L2 English Spatial Prepositions: The case of Native Speakers of Arabic

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Spatial relations radically differ conceptually and linguistically across languages. Different languages have varying concepts and language expressions for spatial relations, making it challenging for L2 learners to understand. This study focuses on how Arab learners interpret (non) spatial relations expressed by different prepositions and how their L1 construal patterns influence their understanding. The study conducted a two-part fill-inthe- gap test with 60 undergraduate Jordanian students, revealing that learners struggled to choose which preposition to use due to the complexity and overlap of L2 prepositions spatial meanings. The learners’ understanding was influenced by their L1 language, which affected their ability to differentiate between L2 prepositions with similar meanings. A learner’s construal is not entirely determined by a systematic cognitive approach and a sufficient comprehension of the fundamental meanings of prepositions; rather, L1 similarity plays a significant influence. The study concludes with suggestions for teaching and further research.


  • cognitive linguistic
  • L1 influence
  • L2 learning
  • preposition
  • spatial relations


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