Cognitive science meets language pedagogy

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Bringing together insights from cognitive schema theories and studies on vocabulary acquisition in a foreign/second language (L2), this chapter singles out the importance of semantic schemas for teaching and learning word meanings. Its main theoretical hypothesis is that cognitive schemas underlying semantic representations of lexical meanings are effective didactic tools for teaching vocabulary. Relevant language-pedagogical concepts are discussed, such as “explicit teaching” and “rich instructions”. Having introduced basic elements of schemas, it is shown how schema-based illustrations could help to explain sense relations between words as well as the emergence of new meanings in complex constructions.


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