This article analyses two Russian prepositional phrases, pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN. It follows the cognitive linguistic approach, which facilitates the explanation of how different, and seemingly arbitrary, uses of prepositions or prepositional phrases (combinations of prepositions and cases) are related and linked through conceptual metaphors. The aim of the study is to examine the conceptual metaphors that clarify the use of pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN. Special attention is given to peculiarities of verbs that collocate with these prepositional phrases. Most meanings of primary prepositions are generally assumed to be derived from spatial meanings through metaphoric extensions. Accordingly, the article begins with the examination of the spatial meanings of pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN and continues with the study of their non-spatial meanings, which appear as a result of metaphorical transfers. The analysis of the data indicates that prepositional phrases associated with the same spatial image share the same semantic extensions. Pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN have some similarities in their spatial meanings: when they are combined with verbs for static position, both prepositional phrases can refer to a Location near and in front of the Landmark. As both pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN can be employed in expressions describing two entities, one of which is near and in front of the other, they are also employed in expressions indicating comparison or contrast (entities are easier to compare and contrast if they are located close to each other). However, prepositional phrases associated with different spatial images can also develop different non-spatial meanings. Protiv + GEN is used in expressions in which two moving entities are orientated against each other, while in expressions with pered + INSTR two moving entities are facing the same direction and one entity precedes the other in sequence or succession. As a result, protiv + GEN is commonly used with verbs for a hostile encounter to mark a Victim or an entity confronted. The spatial meaning ORIENTATION IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS is linked metaphorically to NON-COOPERATION or REBELLION. On the contrary, as pered + INSTR is employed in spatial expressions for sequence or succession, it is also used in corresponding time expressions to mark a period of time preceding a particular time or event. Moreover, pered + INSTR is associated with such functional elements as perceptual accessibility, which explains why this prepositional phrase can be seen in expressions for revealing or disclosing or in expressions for demonstrating worship or obedient behaviour. BEING VISIBLE or UNCOVERED is also a common source domain for BEING UNPROTECTED and VULNERABLE. That is why words for various emotional states and feelings that are associated with being UNPROTECTED and VULNERABLE (fear, shame and disgrace) govern pered + INSTR. The article demonstrates that the similarity and difference in spatial relations with which pered + INSTR and protiv + GEN are associated explain the similarity and difference in their non-spatial use.
- cognitive approach