Integrating cognitive linguistics insights into data-driven learning: Teaching vertical prepositions

Abdurrahman Kilimci


The present study investigates the impact of the integration of the Cognitive Linguistics (CL) pedagogy into Data-driven learning (DDL) on the learners’ acquisition of two sets of English spatial prepositions of verticality, over/under and above/below. The study followed a quasi-experimental design with a control and an experimental group including a pre-test, two instructional treatments, and a post and a delayed post-test for each group. A total of 52 students participated in a two-week instruction on the vertical prepositions. The treatment group (N=26) received a DDL-based CL-inspired instruction, which employed cognitive explanations based on the Principled Polysemy model and concordance activities. The control group (N=26), on the other hand, received traditional instruction (i.e. dictionaries, either electronic or print, as being the only resource). The groups were later compared with respect to their performance on pre-test, post-test and delayed post-test. The statistical analyses revealed that the two teaching methods, the traditional and the DDL-based CL-inspired instruction, helped the students significantly improve their knowledge of the vertical prepositions, yet the latter led to greater learning gains and better retention of knowledge.   The findings suggest that the combination of the two instructional pedagogies with the meaningful presentation of the senses of prepositions and the rich context provided for their uses, can be quite effective to teach spatial prepositions.


data-driven learning; cognitive linguistics; principled polysemy model; vertical prepositions; concordance

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