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Language Teaching and Learning

Cognitive Linguistic approaches to language teaching and learning language are based on the premises that language is a not an autonomous module in the mind, that people's knowledge of language derive from language use, and that language derives from people's interaction with the physical world (Littlemore and Juchem-Grundmann, 2010:1). Moreover, the cognitive processes that guide the learning and processing of a new language are considered to be the same "as those involved in the learning and processing of information more generally (Littlemore and Juchem-Grundman 2010: 1). Some of these processes involve how speakers construe their experiences of the world, how they divide their knowledge of the world into categories, how they understand new phenomena in terms of old, and how they use one thing to refer to another closely related thing. CL adds important information to the field of language teaching and learning by describing processes such as these in detail (see Littlemore and Juchem-Grundmann 2010, 2-5).

Marlene Johansson Falck's research project Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Second Language Teaching: A case study of the English prepositions in, on and at focuses on the usage patterns of Swedish and English prepositions, and on applying insights gained from these analyses to the teaching and learning of English prepositions. For instance, her corpus linguistic analyses of abstract instances of the prepositions in and on from the British National corpus (BNC) (Johansson Falck 2017, under review) show that these fall into categories of related concepts that are systematically related to specific types of body-world knowledge. Some types of abstract concepts are consistently construed as containers (used with in), and others as supporting surfaces (used with on). Subsequent interventions with twelve and thirteen- year-old Swedish L2 learners (Johansson Falck, under review), in turn, show that discussions about the embodied motivations for categories such as these are useful starting points for learning the patterns of abstract in and on in a playful, creative and collaborative way. The learners' self-reports suggest that the approach has positive effects on learning.

Ronia's Anacoura's research focuses on the cognitive dispositions of plurilingual Seychellois learners as they navigate between and develop linguistic structures and practices in their three contact languages; Seychelles Creole (their mother tongue), English and French, all of which hold the status national languages in the Seychelles constitution.

Her research compares the lexicons employed by the Seychellois learners in the three different languages, whilst trying to gauge whether their backgrounds and their immediate surroundings have an impact on their conceptualization of otherwise literal linguistic terms for as Lewis (in Clark 1996:107) posits "...conventional word meanings hold not for a word simpliciter, but for a word in a particular community"

Maria Stridsman's doctoral research project examines vocabulary activities, resources and opportunities for vocabulary learning in an instructed context. The empirical study is based on theories of Cognitive Linguistics and usage-based models for language learning, and it combines data from classroom observations (in grades 4-5) with analysis of vocabulary content in textbooks, teacher interviews, a background questionnaire and a diagnostic vocabulary test. The study can provide in-depth knowledge of second language learning by specifically highlighting children's vocabulary learning in the classroom. The result of the analysis has implications for language learning and teaching at compulsory school, English textbooks and other pedagogical resources.

Works cited

Clark, H.C (1996), Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Johansson Falck, M. (2017) 'Embodied experience and the teaching and learning of L2 prepositions: A case study of abstract in and on.' [In] Tyler, Andrea Huang, L., and Jan, H. (Eds.) What Is Applied Cognitive Linguistics? : Answers from the L2 Classroom and SLA Studies. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Littlemore, J., & Juchem-Grundmann, C. (2010). Introduction to the interplay between cognitive linguistics and second language learning and teaching. AILA Review, 23(1), 1-6.