Alvin Cheng-Hsien Chen

National Changhua University of Education, Taiwan



The present study aims to investigate how conceptual symmetry plays a role in the use of spatial particles in English and to further examine its pedagogical implications via a corpus-based evaluation of the course books in senior high schools in Taiwan. More specifically, we adopt a quantitative corpus-based approach to investigate whether bipolar spatial particles (e.g., up/down) on the same spatial dimension (e.g., vertical axis) exhibit a symmetrical extension to similar sets of target domains in real language use.Our data is based on the British National Corpus. We examine the correlation patterns between 13 spatial particles and their co-occurring nouns in English preposition constructions through exploratory statistical methods. The distributional patterns of the spatial particles have clearly revealed different patterning on three dimensions with respect to their degrees of conceptual symmetry. On the other hand, we further analyze the distribution of the spatial particles in three major officially-approved versions of textbooks in senior high schools, namely, Far East, Lungteng and Sanmin. This evaluation features a critical comparison with the authentic corpus-based realization of these spatial particles in the BNC. The similarities and differences between the textbook illustration and the realistic corpus instantiation may shed light on the pedagogical practices for language teachers on the frontline.


Key Words: English prepositions, corpus, space, metaphor










關鍵字: 英語介系詞、語料庫、空間、隱喻