ERIC Number: ED303040
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Mar-10
Reference Count: N/A
On the Interaction of Prototype and Language Transfer.
A study compares and contrasts a set of English and Spanish prepositions of location in the context of prototype theory. It seeks to establish the prototype concept of each preposition and the degrees of prototypicality by testing for native-speaker choices of examples that illustrate best the most basic use of the preposition. The prepositions studied are "in, on, at, and over" (English) and "en and sobre" (Spanish). The study also tests the hypothesis that the English preposition whose prototype corresponds most closely to the prototype of a given Spanish preposition tends to be preferred to other prepositions by Spanish speakers learning English, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate, in contexts in which that Spanish preposition would be used. Four instruments were designed to determine prototype concepts and degree of prototypicality. It is concluded that some prepositions are describable in terms of prototypes and others are better stated in terms of an abstract set of defining features. In addition, there appear to be "latent" prototypes that may not be elicited easily except under certain conditions, such as the need to express oneself in another language. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (22nd, Chicago, IL, March 8-13, 1988).