The spatial dimension in the teaching of Czech for foreigners (particularly in prepositional phrases with the locative meaning ADV Loc)
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceStudie z aplikované lingvistiky, 2020, Special issue, 112-124
Czech for foreigners, linguodidactic instruction,, spatial dimension, preposition, semantic unit
Spatial relations are an important element of communication. They are expressed using prepositional (Jeli podél řeky. ‘They drove alongside the river.’) as well as nonprepositional phrases (Prošli hlubokým lesem. ‘They crossed a deep forest.’), locative adverbs (Všichni sešli dolů. ‘They all came downstairs.’) and subordinate clauses (Došli až tam, kde cesta končila. ‘They arrived to the place where the path ended.’). ADV Loc phrases assume secondary meaning in communication (Je úplně na dně. ‘He has hit bottom.’ — he is in a critical situation). Originally, local relations played a fundamental role in the formation of other meanings: the meanings of purpose, effect, and cause evolved in the dynamic component while the meanings of condition, aspect, manner, etc. developed in the static component. Local relations receive due attention in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as well as in the reference level descriptions for Czech (A1–B1). The same applies to selected textbooks of Czech for foreigners. There is, however, room for improvement which could be achieved by: a) applying the onomasiological approach (grouping prepositions based on semantic units) instead of the semasiological one; the obstacle to this is the horizontal description of Czech declension (a step-by-step presentation of grammatical cases rather than entire paradigms), b) taking advantage of the knowledge of the use of primary prepositions (linguo-didactic instructions) and c) taking advantage of other aspects, e.g. the presentation of the preposition na ‘for’ as a preposition of purpose and not place (Jde na oběd. ‘He is going for lunch.’ — not “where”, but “why”); paying more attention to differences (z Brna vs. od Brna ‘from Brno’ vs. ‘from around Brno’); synonymy (podle/podél řeky ‘along/alongside the river’); and the competition between prepositions (za mlhy / v mlze = ‘during the fog / in the fog’).