The present chapter represents the first stage in the larger investigation; it examines two aspects of applying a usage-based, CL approach to teaching por and para. First, we presented the multiple meanings of the two forms gradually, building learners’ knowledge in a series of scaffolded treatments, throughout the course of an entire semester rather than presenting them all in one concentrated lesson. Second, we presented the multiple meanings of por and para and structured their order of presentation according to a Cognitive Linguistic-inspired analysis, which emphasizes the systematic relationships among the multiple meanings. Such a systematic analysis is consistent with studies in cognitive psychology which have shown that it is easier to retrieve complexes of information if there is a systematic, organizing structure that specifies the relationship among the items, since this structure offers additional routes for accessing information (e.g. Bousfield 1953; Bower et al. 1969; Deese 1959; Lam 2009; Mandler 1967; Tulving 1962). A third area of interest was in examining the efficacy of providing explicit CL explanations of por and para, including discussion of CL concepts, such as the many meanings being represented by a systematically connected polysemy network whose central sense is a spatial relationship between a focus element and a background element, versus an approach which did not explicitly articulate CL concepts and did not explicitly present the multiple meanings as comprising a polysemy network.

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Copyright © 2018 De Gruyter Mouton. This chapter first appeared in What is Applied Cognitive Linguistics? Answers From Current SLA Research.

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