Prepositions are used to show or relate the relationship between two or more words or events. Most of these relations that prepositions define involve position and direction. For example, the words 'down' and 'over', which are relational prepositions, and many others tend to be more abstract in nature, as they involve notions like benefit…
They can also involve possession, like the word 'of' in this phrase 'The books of the school.' When prepositions take on a relational meaning it is common to encounter errors of omission, and errors of commission
Errors of omission occur when foreign language learners, or growing children, "fail to use a preposition where one is called for (for example: 'Open keys!' 'Open it with keys!'). Errors like this are due to a lack between the ability to conceive of a certain relation (location, instrument, or direction), and the ability to express it."
People learning English as a foreign language often have big problems finding the right English prepositions. These problems can be attributed to the fact that "there are different uses of prepositions in various languages around the world. For example: 'I talked to him.' vs 'Ich redete mit ihm.'// 'He believes in love.' vs 'Er glaubt an die Liebe." (Brala, M.)
Most times, lexical items, which fall within prepositional categories are referred to as 'locatives'. This comes from a reflecting on the study of prepositions from two different perspectives: a) the grammatical, and b) the 'local' (semantically driven). "From the grammatical perspective, prepositions have, for a long time, been treated as merely 'an annoying little surface peculiarity' (Jackendoff, 1973 p. 345). This can be attributed to poor interest for the quality of the lexicographic portrayals of prepositional semantics, "which has been dangerously under-examined." (Lindstromberg, 2001)
Also, in many languages, the information provided by a preposition is often coded in a noun inflection (an example of this is the ablative in Latin). It is a well known fact that "when it comes to mastering a foreign language one of the most troublesome areas to learn is the (idiomatic) usage of prepositions. Learning how to use prepositions correctly in a foreign language is a colossal task, one that is usually not accomplished way into the learning process, and one that many learners never manage to master thoroughly." (Brala, M. p.1)
Examining language differences
The Mother language of a foreign learner of English is called first language (L1), while the language to be learnt is called the target language or second language (L2). A shallow learning means relationship between letters and sounds. An English language learner will first be able to generate orthographic parts of more then one letter and then and face the problems in more complex words, because knowledge of just simple words is not sufficient for usage of the English language.
In English the learner usually faces the problem with some irregular word that escapes phonemic assembly. In some readings a word might more then one spelling. In a comparative study that was carried out in 2003, to ascertain word differences in different languages, students from different countries were brought together in one class, and analysis showed that the English students exhibited a low lower grade of correct words as compared to ...
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(Foreign Language Learners and Spatial Preposition Essay)
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