A Cognitive study of Nonlinguistic Factors Affecting the use of Prepositions by Vietnamese Native Speakers

Phuc Tran Huu, Thang Nguyen Tat, Nghi Tran Tin


This article investigates factors that influence the use of English expressions made by Vietnamese native students at Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry (HUFI). The research is conducted to analyze the factors that validly affect the usage of prepositions by EFL learners based on a variety of personal data and background of the participants. It is hypothesized that the application of prepositions is affected by some of geographical and social factors rather than linguistics matters. With the help of the software SPSS, the research took a thorough exploration into certain hindered elements in Vietnamese that may affect the language acquisition through negative interference to EFL learners. The data came from the survey of 141 EFL students at HUFI. A number of factors that appear to influence the use of English prepositions made by EFL learners. The findings discovered that location, favourite colours and negative transfers influenced the use of prepositions rather than the other factors, e.g. gender, reading habits, leisure activities, outdoor activities. The result of the study contributes to the understanding of the hindering factors to the SLA in teaching English prepositions under the light of Cognitive Linguistics. Practical suggestions for EFL pedagogy and research are also included in this paper.


English Prepositions, Negative Transfer, Cognitive Linguistics, EFL

Full Text:



Akhtar, S., & Rizwan, M. (2017). An Analysis of Preposition ( Idiomatic Phrases , Prepositional Phrases and Zero Prepositions ) Detection Errors in the Writing of Graduate ESL Learners of Pakistan, 32(2008), 24–42.

Bergen, B. K., & Chang, N. C. (2000). Spatial Schematicity of Prepositions in Neural Grammar. The Fifth International Conference on Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language, 1–7. https://doi.org/DOI 10.1016/j.encep.2011.10.002

Bontly, T. D. (2005). Modified Occam’s Razor: Parsimony, Pragmatics, and the Acquisition of Word Meaning. Mind and Language, 20(3), 288–312. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0268-1064.2005.00286.x

Bratož, S. (2014). Teaching English locative prepositions: a cognitive perspective. Linguistica, 54(1), 325. https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.54.1.325-337

Brenda, M. (2014). The Cognitive Perspective on the Polysemy of the English Spatial Preposition Over.

Chong, K. F. (2007). An Analysis of the prepositional errors of time,place and direction among chinese secondary school students. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107415324.004

Erdocia, K., & Laka, I. (2018). Negative Transfer Effects on L2 Word Order Processing. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 337. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00337

Evans, V., & Tyler, A. (2005). Applying Cognitive Linguistics to pedagogical grammar: the English prepositions of verticality. Revista Brasileira de Linguistica Aplicada, 5(2), 11–42. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1984-63982005000200002

Fauconnier, G. (1985). Mental spaces: Aspects of meaning construction in natural language.

Fauconnier, G. (2001). Conceptual Blending. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 19(2003), 2495–2498. https://doi.org/10.1016/B0-08-043076-7/00363-6

Fauconnier, G., & Turner, M. (2003). Conceptual blending, form and meaning. Recherches En Communication. https://doi.org/10.1007/11915034_11

Hoang, H., & Boers, F. (2018). Gauging the association of EFL learners’ writing proficiency and their use of metaphorical language. System, 74, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.SYSTEM.2018.02.004

Hung, B. P. (2017). Vietnamese Students’ Learning the Semantics of English Prepositions. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies, 17(4), 146–158. https://doi.org/10.17576/gema-2017-1704-10

Kim, T. T., Kỷ, B., & Khiêm, P. trọng. (1940). Vietnamese grammar (First). Ha Noi: Le Thang Publishing.

Langacker, R. W. (2008). Cognitive grammar : a basic introduction. Oxford University Press.

Li, H. (2014). Cognitive Skills in Learning to Read in Chinese and English: A transfer of learning Perspective. Washington.

Lindstromberg, S. (2010). English Prepositions Explained. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1075/z.157

Lu, W. (2013). Contextualization and Blending : a Cognitive Linguistics Approach To the Semantics of in.

Mueller, C. M. (2011). English learners’ knowledge of prepositions: Collocational knowledge or knowledge based on meaning? System, 39(4), 480–490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2011.10.012

Nevalainen, T. (2000). Early modern English lexis and semantics. In R. Lass (Ed.), The Cambridge History of the English Language: Volume 3: 1476–1776 (Vol. 3, pp. 332–458). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/DOI: 10.1017/CHOL9780521264761.006

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J. (n.d.). A brief overview of locative prepositions and their role of marker.

Steele, S., & Heine, B. (1994). Auxiliaries: Cognitive Forces and Grammaticalization. Language, 70(4), 818. https://doi.org/10.2307/416332

Sudhakaran, B. (2015). Acquisition of English Language Prepositions in the Absence of Formal Grammar Teaching. English Linguistics Research, 4(4), 88–99. https://doi.org/10.5430/elr.v4n4p88

Thắng, N. T. (2007). Trong phòng khách và ngoài phòng khách : vài điều thảo luận từ quan điểm của ngôn ngữ học tri nhận. VNU Journal of Science of Foreign Studies, 23, 136–140.

Thi, N., Phan, T., & Locke, T. (2015). Sources of self-efficacy of Vietnamese EFL teachers: A qualitative study. Teaching and Teacher Education, 52, 73–82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2015.09.006

Thi Minh Tran, G., & Lưu, K. Q. (2014). A Study of Some Linguistic Features of the Transferred Negation of Cognitive Non-Factive Verbs in English. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2(3), 140. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ijll.20140203.12

Tri C. Tran; Minh-Tam Tran. (2007). Chao Ban!: An Introduction to Vietnamese. University Press of America.

Tyler, A. (2003). Reconsidering prepositional polysemy networks: the case of over* Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans. Polysemy: Flexible Patterns of Meaning in Mind and Language, 142(1994), 95.

Tyler, A., Mueller, C., & Ho, V. (2011). Applying cognitive linguistics to learning the semantics of English to, for and at: An experimental investigation. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8(1), 181–205. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.41.7.2987-2991.2003

Wright, L., & Hope, J. (2005). Stylistics: A Practical Coursebook. https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.12118

Yoon, S. Y. (2001). The Polysemy Networks of over, (1988).

Zarei, G. R., Darakeh, M., & Daneshkhah, N. (2016). Effect of Using Image-Schemas on Learning L2 Prepositions and Enhancing Learner Autonomy : A Dynamic System Theory and Cognitive Linguistics-Inspired Approach. Journal of Research in Applied Linguistics, 7(1), 118–137.

Zhu, Q. (2009). A corpus-based analysis of argument realization by preposition structures. Natural Language Engineering, 15(3), 379–414. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1351324908005044

Zwarts, J., & Gärdenfors, P. (2016). Locative and Directional Prepositions in Conceptual Spaces: The Role of Polar Convexity. Journal of Logic, Language and Information, 25(1), 109–138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10849-015-9224-5


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.