Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-9751
  • E-ISSN: 1877-976X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



The present study sets out to construct a semantic network for the German preposition (‘behind’) based on the theoretical framework of “principled polysemy”. The analysis regarding the cognitive and pragmatic aspects motivating the meaning extensions of attempts to highlight the importance of varying construal patterns and vantage points as well as the role of real-world knowledge. By means of corpus data, I intend to present six senses of the preposition , hinting at the polysemous nature of prepositions more generally. Furthermore, the theory of conceptual metaphor is applied to account for metaphorical extensions of to more abstract domains of embodied experience.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Almuoseb, A.
    (2016) A lexical-semantic analysis of the English prepositions at, on and in and their conceptual mapping onto Arabic. Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, 4(1), 211–236. 10.1515/gcla‑2016‑0014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/gcla-2016-0014 [Google Scholar]
  2. Arnett, C., & Deifel, K.
    (2015) Two-way prepositions and L2 Students of German. InK. Masuda, C. Arnett & A. Labarca (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistics and Sociocultural Theory: Applications for Second and Foreign Language Teaching (pp.183–201). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614514442‑010
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614514442-010 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bellavia, E.
    (1996) The German über. InM. Pütz & R. Dirven (Eds.), The construal of space in language and thought (pp.73–107). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110821611.73
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110821611.73 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bender, A., Bennardo, G., & Beller, S.
    (2005) Spatial frames of reference for temporal relations: A conceptual analysis in English, German, and Tongan. InB. G. Bara, L. Barsalou & M. Bucciarelli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 27th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp.220–225). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Berez, A., & Gries, S. Th.
    (2009) In defense of corpus-based methods: a behavioral profile analysis of polysemous get in English. Proceedings of 24th Northwest Linguistics Conference, 27, 157–166.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Boers, F.
    (1996) Spatial prepositions and metaphor. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Boers, F., & Demecheleer, M.
    (1998) A cognitive semantic approach to teaching prepositions. ELT journal, 53(3), 197–204. 10.1093/elt/52.3.197
    https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/52.3.197 [Google Scholar]
  8. Brala-Vukanovic, M., & Rubinic, N.
    (2011) Croatian spatial prepositions and prefixes. A cognitive semantic analysis. Fluminensia, 23(2), 21–37.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Bratož, S.
    (2014) Teaching English locative prepositions: A cognitive perspective. Linguistica, 45(1), 325–337. 10.4312/linguistica.54.1.325‑337
    https://doi.org/10.4312/linguistica.54.1.325-337 [Google Scholar]
  10. Brenda, M.
    (2015) The semantics of at. InE. Komorowska (Ed.), Annales Neophilologiarum9 (pp.25–55). Szczecin: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Szczecińskiego. 10.18276/an.2015.9‑02
    https://doi.org/10.18276/an.2015.9-02 [Google Scholar]
  11. (2017) A cognitive perspective on the semantics near. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 15(1), 121–153. 10.1075/rcl.15.1.06bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.15.1.06bre [Google Scholar]
  12. (2019) The semantics of the English complex preposition next to. Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 17(2), 438–464. 10.1075/rcl.00042.bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/rcl.00042.bre [Google Scholar]
  13. Brugman, C.
    (1981) The story of over: Polysemy, semantics, and the structure of the lexicon. New York: Garland Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Carstensen, K-U.
    (2015) A cognitivist attentional semantics of locative prepositions. InG. Marchetti, G. Benedetti & A. Alharbi (Eds.), Attention and meaning. The attentional basis of meaning (pp.93–132). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Coventry, K. R.
    (1998) Spatial prepositions, functional relations and lexical specification. InP. Olivier & K. Gapp (Eds.), The Representation and processing of spatial expressions (pp.247–262). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (2015) Space. InE. Dabrowska & D. Divjak (Eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics (pp.489–507). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Coventry, K. R., Prat-Sala, M., & Richards, L.
    (2001) The interplay between geometry and function in the comprehension of over, under, above, and below. Journal of Memory and Language, 44(3), 376–398. 10.1006/jmla.2000.2742
    https://doi.org/10.1006/jmla.2000.2742 [Google Scholar]
  18. Croft, W., & Cruse, A.
    (2004) Cognitive linguistics. New York: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511803864
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511803864 [Google Scholar]
  19. Cuyckens, H.
    (1991) The semantics of spatial prepositions in Dutch: A cognitive-linguistic exercise. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Antwerp.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Dewell, R.
    (1994) Over again: Image-schema transformations in semantic analysis. Cognitive Linguistics, 5, 351–380. 10.1515/cogl.1994.5.4.351
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1994.5.4.351 [Google Scholar]
  21. Evans, V.
    (2005) The meaning of time: polysemy, the lexicon and conceptual structure. Journal of Linguistics, 41(1), 33–75. 10.1017/S0022226704003056
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226704003056 [Google Scholar]
  22. (2010) The perceptual basis of spatial representation. InV. Evans & P. Chilton (Eds.), Language, cognition and space: The state of the art and new directions (pp.21–48). London, Oakville: Equinox Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. (2013) Language and time: A cognitive linguistic approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781107340626
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107340626 [Google Scholar]
  24. Grabowski, J., & Weiss, P.
    (1996) The prepositional inventory of languages: A factor that affects comprehension of spatial prepositions. Language Sciences, 18, 19–35. 10.1016/0388‑0001(96)00005‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0388-0001(96)00005-8 [Google Scholar]
  25. Gries, S. Th.
    (2006) Corpus-based methods and cognitive semantics: The many senses of to run. InA. Stefanowitsch & S. Th. Gries (Eds.), Corpus-based Approaches to Metaphor and Metonymy (pp.57–99). Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. (2015) Polysemy. InE. Dabrowska & D. Divjak (Eds.), Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics (pp.472–490). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Hampe, B., & Grady, J.
    (Eds.) (2005) From perception to meaning. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110197532
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110197532 [Google Scholar]
  28. Kalisz, R.
    (1990) A cognitive approach to spatial terms represented by in front of and behind in English, and their metaphorical extensions. InB. Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk & J. Tomaszczyk (Eds.), Meaning and Lexicography (pp.167–180). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/llsee.28.17kal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/llsee.28.17kal [Google Scholar]
  29. Kokorniak, I.
    (2007) English at: an integrated semantic analysis. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Kreitzer, A.
    (1997) Multiple levels of schematization: A study in the conceptualization of space. Cognitive Linguistics, 8, 291–325. 10.1515/cogl.1997.8.4.291
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.1997.8.4.291 [Google Scholar]
  31. Lakoff, G.
    (1987) Women, fire, and dangerous things: What categories reveal about the mind. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226471013.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  32. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M.
    (1980) Metaphors we live by. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Lam, Y.
    (2009) Applying cognitive linguistics to the teaching of the Spanish prepositions por and para. Language Awareness, 18(1), 2–18. 10.1080/09658410802147345
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09658410802147345 [Google Scholar]
  34. Landau, B., & Jackendoff, R.
    (1993) “What” and “where” in spatial language and spatial cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 16, 217–265. 10.1017/S0140525X00029733
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00029733 [Google Scholar]
  35. Langacker, R. W.
    (1987) Foundations of cognitive grammar. Vol. 1: Theoretical prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. (1996) Viewing in cognition and grammar. InP. W. Davis (Ed.), Alternative linguistics: Descriptive and theoretical modes (pp.153–212). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/cilt.102.06lan
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.102.06lan [Google Scholar]
  37. (2008) Cognitive grammar: A basic introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331967.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331967.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  38. Levinson, S. C.
    (2003) Space in language and cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511613609
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511613609 [Google Scholar]
  39. (2006) Cognition at the heart of human interaction. Discourse Studies, 8(1), 85–93. 10.1177/1461445606059557
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445606059557 [Google Scholar]
  40. Liamkina, O.
    (2007) Semantic structure of the German spatial particle über. Journal of Germanic Linguistics, 19(2), 115–160. 10.1017/S1470542707000050
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1470542707000050 [Google Scholar]
  41. Lindner, S.
    (1981) A lexico-semantic analysis of verb-particle constructions with ‘up’ and ‘out.’Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of California.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Lindstromberg, S.
    (2010) English prepositions explained (Revised ed.). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/z.157
    https://doi.org/10.1075/z.157 [Google Scholar]
  43. (2020) An update on frequent English spatial prepositions: Are they monosemic, polysemic, or something else?. doi:  10.13140/RG.2.2.15423.87204
    https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.15423.87204 [Google Scholar]
  44. Lu, W.-L.
    (2015) A cognitive linguistic approach to teaching spatial particles: From contrastive constructional analyses to material design. InK. Masuda, C. Arnett & A. Labarca (Eds.), Cognitive Linguistics and sociocultural theory (pp.51–72). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter. 10.1515/9781614514442‑005
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614514442-005 [Google Scholar]
  45. Mahpeykar, N.
    (2018) The role of embodiment in the semantic analysis of phrasal verbs. Language and Cognition, 7(1), 1–35. 10.1017/langcog.2014.15
    https://doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2014.15 [Google Scholar]
  46. Mahpeykar, N., & Tyler, A.
    (2011) The semantics of Farsi be: Applying the principled polysemy model. InM. Egenhofer, N. Giudice, R. Moratz & M. Worboys (Eds.), Spatial information theory. COSIT 2011. Lecture notes in computer science, Vol 6899 (pp.413–433). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑642‑23196‑4_22
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-23196-4_22 [Google Scholar]
  47. (2015) A principled cognitive linguistics account of English phrasal verbs with up and out. Language and Cognition, 4(1), 1–35. 10.1017/langcog.2014.15
    https://doi.org/10.1017/langcog.2014.15 [Google Scholar]
  48. Martín, M. A.
    (2000) A cognitive approach to the polysemy of ‘through’. Estudios Ingleses de la Universidad Complutense, 8, 11–38.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Meex, B.
    (2002) Die Wegpreposition über. InH. Cuyckens & G. Radden, Perspectives on prepositions (pp.157–176). Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110924787.157
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110924787.157 [Google Scholar]
  50. Morras, J., & Barcelona, A.
    (2019) Conceptual structuring of the English prepositions between, among, and amid, and their Spanish equivalent entre: A cognitive linguistic approach to spatial, non-spatial and temporal scenes. Cognitive Linguistic Studies, 6(1), 103–129. 10.1075/cogls.00032.mor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cogls.00032.mor [Google Scholar]
  51. Mueller, C. M.
    (2015) A semantic account of the English preposition FOR based on a cognitive linguistics framework. 藤女子大学文学部紀要, 53(1), 1–24.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Navarro, I.
    (1998) A cognitive semantics analysis of the lexical units AT, ON, and IN in English. Ph.D. dissertation. Castelló de la Plana: Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I de Castelló
    [Google Scholar]
  53. (2002) Towards a description of the meaning of AT. InH. Cuyckens & G. Radden (Eds.), Perspectives on prepositions (pp.211–230). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 10.1515/9783110924787.211
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110924787.211 [Google Scholar]
  54. Pütz, D., & Dirven, M.
    (Eds.) (1996) The construal of space in language and thought. Berlin & New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110821611
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110821611 [Google Scholar]
  55. Schröder, U. A.
    (2014) Die metaphorische Bedeutungsvielfalt von Präpositionen im DaF-Unterricht an brasilianischen Hochschulen. Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht. Didaktik und Methodik im Bereich Deutsch als Fremdsprache19(2), 146–170.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Shakhova, D., & A. Tyler
    (2010) Taking the principled polysemy model of spatial particles beyond English: The case of Russian za. InV. Evans & P. Chilton (Eds.), Language, cognition and space: The state of the art and new directions (pp.267–291). London, Oakville: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Talmy, L.
    (2000) Toward a cognitive semantics. Vol. I. Concept structuring systems. Cambridge, MA: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. (2007) Attention phenomena. InD. Geeraerts & H. Cuyckens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of Cognitive Linguistics (pp.264–293). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Taylor, J. R.
    (1993) Prepositions: Patterns of polysemization and strategies of disambiguation. InC. Zelinsky-Wibbelt (Ed.), The semantics of prepositions: From mental processing to natural language processing (pp.151–179). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110872576.151
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110872576.151 [Google Scholar]
  60. Turewicz, K.
    (1994) English IN and ON; Polish W and NA. A Cognitive Grammar perspective. InE. Gussman & H. Kardela (Eds), Focus on language (pp.1–22). Lublin: Maria Curie – Skodowska University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. (2004) Understanding prepositions through cognitive grammar. A case of IN. InK. Turewicz (Ed.), Cognitive Linguistics – a user friendly approach (pp.100–126). Szczecin: Szczecin University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Tyler, A., & Evans, V.
    (2001) Reconsidering prepositional polysemy networks: The case of over. Language, 77, 724–765. 10.1353/lan.2001.0250
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2001.0250 [Google Scholar]
  63. (2003) Spatial scenes: A cognitive approach to English prepositions and the experiential basis of meaning. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Tyler, A., Mueller, C. M., & 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, 122–140.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Vandeloise, C.
    (1991) Spatial prepositions: A case study in French. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Wang, B., & Su, L.
    (2015) On the principled polysemy of -kai in Chinese resultative verbs. Chinese Language and Discourse, 6(1), 2–27. 10.1075/cld.6.1.01wan
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cld.6.1.01wan [Google Scholar]
  67. Wunderlich, D.
    (1993) On German UM: Semantic and conceptual aspects. Linguistics, 31(1), 111–133. 10.1515/ling.1993.31.1.111
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1993.31.1.111 [Google Scholar]
  68. Zelinsky-Wibbelt, C.
    (1993) Introduction. InC. Zelinsky-Wibbelt (Ed.), The semantics of prepositions: From mental processing to natural language processing (pp.1–24). Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110872576.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110872576.1 [Google Scholar]
  69. Zlatev, J.
    (1997) Situated embodiment: Studies in the emergence of spatial meaning. PhD dissertation, University of Stockholm.
    [Google Scholar]
  70. (2007) Spatial semantics. InD. Geeraerts & H. Cuyckens (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of Cognitive Linguistics (pp.318–350). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Duden
    Duden. (n.d.). Duden dictionary online. https://www.duden.de
  72. DWDS
    DWDS (n.d.). Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache. www.dwds.de

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): German; meaning extension; polysemy; preposition; semantic network
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error