Document Type



Master of Arts


Department of English

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Virginia C. Mueller Gathercole

First Advisor's Committee Title

Major professor

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Feryal Yavas

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Marisa Filgueras-Gomez

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Date of Defense



The acquisition of English prepositions is particularly challenging for students learning English as a second language. This project explores the acquisition of English spatial expressions by Arab ESL learners. This study examines several issues that may affect the processes of acquiring the English prepositions among Arab ESL learners such as the age of acquisition, learning transfer, and frequency. Furthermore, it considers the difficulties that Arab learners may encounter when learning English spatial locatives via transfer phenomena. These phenomena involve possible positive transfer and negative transfer in second language acquisition. This is especially problematic in the case of the lack of a one-to-one mapping and the different number of prepositions in Arabic and English. The study elicits English prepositions by Arab ESL learners through a Cloze procedure. The experiment focuses on the use of the spatial prepositions in, on, and at across different levels of Saudi students in Miami.

Keywords: spatial, learning transfer, positive transfer, negative transfer



Included in

Linguistics Commons



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).