TEACHING ITALIAN PREPOSITIONS TO FOREIGNERS: A SEMANTIC-COGNITIVE APPROACH
This paper presents a series of reflections aimed at simplifying and rationalising the teaching of Italian prepositions in plurilingual learning classes, with particular attention paid to how to classify prepositions and what the best strategy is to introduce them.
Generally, Italian L2 books present prepositions in a disordered manner, spread over numerous units. Especially in monographs, prepositions are described within more organic categories; nevertheless, this setting exhausts its explanatory aims by matching the various cases to specific nomenclatures, similar to those used by logical analysis, and mostly exemplified by fictitious examples. We noticed that this strategy disorients the learner, who often fails to fully understand the meanings associated with the various Italian prepositions and opts for mnemonic learning. The danger is also that the student more willingly entrusts the translation of certain meanings from L1 to L2, resulting in fossilisations that are difficult to “correct.”
In the preparation of the didactic materials designed for students enrolled in the Centro di Cultura per Stranieri–University of Florence, Italian prepositions have been grouped into four macrocategories, which, from the semantic-cognitive point of view, have intrinsic affinities in many spoken languages, although they do not fall under the same grammatical nomenclature. In this way, the learner is given the opportunity to actively participate in the formation of an L2 competence and to consider the differences and similarities in L1.