Prepositions in MSA and English
Spatial scenes are identical in the world languages. However, cultures may diverge in profiling spatial scenes (Levinson 2003). This paper selects for
study the prepositions in and on in English and their Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) counterparts fi and 3ala, arguing that MSA
and English seem to diverge in the spatial configurations and meanings of these prepositions. The sub-schemas of CONTAINMENT (in-ness) in MSA are found to
partially overlap with those of English, with the other sub-schemas being taken care of by SUPPORT (on-ness) and PUNCTUALITY (point-ness). Such differences
classify MSA more as a CONTAINMENT-based language than English, which seems to prefer SUPPORT and PUNCTUALITY. However, English and MSA seem to converge in
their metaphoric conceptualizations of states owing to conceptual embodiment (Lakoff 1987). The article discusses the implications of such findings for
spatial cognition and cultural cognition and EFL/ESL writing and translating.