Posted: Mar 25, 2022 6:54 am
by don't get me started
1. Cognitive Discourse Analysis: An introduction - Thora Tenbrink
2. Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender And Identity- And Why This Harms Everybody – Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay
3. A History of the World in 12 Maps – Jerry Brotton
4. Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language – Patricia T. O’Connor & Stewart Kellerman
5. Peer Interaction and Second Language Learning - Jenefer Philip, Rebecca Adams & Noriko Iwashita
6. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
7. Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World - Nataly Kelly & Jost Zetzche
8. English Words: A Linguistic Introduction - Heidi Harley
9. Questions: Formal, Functional and Interactional Perspectives Jan P. de Ruiter (Ed.)
10. Persepolis Rising - James S.A. Corey

11. English Prepositions: Their meanings and uses - R.M.W. Dixon


The author is not widely known to the general public, but a giant figure in the area of linguistic typology. I've read a fair amount of stuff by him.
This book is intended mostly as as a reference book, but I decided to read it through, because, you know- reasons. There was a wealth of detail and some interesting insights into the conceptual underpinnings of these words in English. One of the best sections was on the concept of pairings between prepositions. Many prepositions come in pairs (on/off, in/out, up/down etc.)
Dixon posits the following properties for these pairings: (pp.11-12.)

"i) The major member is far more common than the minor one.
ii) The major member has a wider range of meanings and grammatical possibilities; it is likely to feature in more prepositional verbs than the minor member. Some of the senses of the major member also apply to the minor member, mutatis mutandis. Other major member senses have no correspondents. The minor member has some independent senses, but rather few (in comparison with thiose of the major member).
iii) In most instances, the basic meaning of the major member is provided with a positive specification, with that of the minor member being, in a rather rough sense, the opposite of this. "

You'll notice that when both pairs appear together, it is usually the case that the major one is first and the minor one second.
In and out/ up and down/to and from. Although other senses can prevail; The pair 'before and after' take temporal order as the collocation pattern.

Studying a foreign language it is often these small words that present endless problems of the learner. In German you go 'auf uralub', you live 'auf dem Lande' and you meet people 'auf einer Party, while in English you go on holiday, live in a country and meet people at a party. (Taylor p.112)
The Japanese system is based on POSTpositions. They come after the noun. 'I Tokyo to went', and the senses mostly don't align with English. I recall having confusion trying to say 'I waited for my friend' which came out as 'I waited for the benefit of my friend' because I failed to understand two senses of for in English (Reason and benefit) are differentiated in Japanese.

Interesting book with a huge number of well-chosen examples. The author mentions at the end some of the recent trends in English, such as using the preposition 'of' instead of the auxiliary verb 'have' in some constructions.

'I should of paid more attention in grammar class.'