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Transcript of Prepositions
Prepositions mark a relationship:
NP or V or Adj. + NP
The grammatical uses of basic one-syllable prepositions are tied up to the conceptual meaning of the NP which comes after them.
The key to understanding the basic meaning of these prepositions is to know how spacial locations are perceived by English speakers.
LOCATION IN SPACE
can be points in space
can be treated as having no relevant dimensions
can be lines or surfaces
can be treated as having one or two dimensions
can be areas or interior spaces with volume
can be treated as having two or three dimensions
Expressing static location:
625 Royal Street
the old part of town
Where does Elvis live?
Expressing dynamics with focus on the movement
a. Elvis went
c. and jumped
Expressing goal of movement (source)
a. When Elvis was reaching to get a glass
b. he knocked a bowl
c. and all the salad spilled
Expressing the result of a movement
a. Elvis has been
here for a while.
b. All his pictures are
c. Some people say he's
Expressing movement relative to some space
a. Elvis ran
the clock tower,
c. and made his way
the fruit market.
PREPOSITIONS AND LOCATIONS
Most spacial references can be conceptualized by a speaker differently on different occasions, depending on the nature of the information being conveyed.
a. The university is
b. The sun is shining
c. The flight has one stop
a. They climbed
the steep side of the hill,
b. and walked
the other side.
LOCATION IN TIME
Events can be fixed in terms of very specific 'points' in time.
Restricted 'units' of time such as dates and days.
More extended 'periods' such as months, years, and seasons.
a. at six o'clock.
b. at noon.
c. at that time.
a. on Monday
b. on March 20th
c. on Sunday morning
a. in October
b. in 1947
c. in summer
Speakers can treat a particular temporal reference as having different properties on different occasions
night, all your problems can seem much worse.
the night in question, this man was sound asleep.
the night, refugees try to cross the border.
a. I have classes
b. I like to sleep late
LOCATION IN METAPHOR
Just like spatial locations and temporal locations, non-physical locations can be treated as containers for other referents.
For English speakers, linguistic expressions are often treated as being capable of containing thoughts and meanings.
a. His meaning is
the words he used.
b. Tell us
your own words.
c. Express yourself
d. Try to put your feelings
e. I can't make any sense
f. He communicated his beliefs
A similar extension of the 'container' concept may involve feelings or emotions.
a bad mood.
c. Be careful or you'll get
d. At last we were
e. They survived
Other examples of this concept:
c. be left
d. convince someone