Metaphor in Discourse by Elena Semino. No author info given Surprise as a conceptual category. Talking about intercultural experiences. Al-Saate

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For example, one Year 8 student aged years said: my mum has a greenhouse so I kind of like refer back to that. While it seems at first to be valuable pedagogically to encourage students to reflect in this way, we found that they over-generalise from the greenhouse metaphor, and draw some inferences that are not scientifically correct. In particular, many students hold the idea that carbon dioxide forms a thin, hard layer round the Earth like a pane of glass.

How common this is is shown in the frequency of glass: it is nearly twice as frequent in this corpus as in a general language corpus, the British National Corpus, relative to the size of the corpora , where it is usually used to refer to a container for a drink.

This is the concordance for glass from the student interviews. Only citations 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 do not show this use; the file numbers indicate that 4 of these are from the same interview. The first citation is from an interview with Year 7 students, who were aged between Fuller context is as follows: Interviewer What is the greenhouse effect? Interviewer What happens to the gases? Only the first of these properties, that they trap heat, is the grounds for the greenhouse metaphor. This seems to represent a tendency among the students to extend metaphors creatively, using their knowledge of the literal meanings of the word, in a way that can lead to some misunderstandings.

We found this in the use of a number of metaphors, throughout the student interviews. In this case, it is also possible that the students are reinterpreting the diagrams of the greenhouse effect that they will have seen on websites and in their textbooks, such as this.

Implications Our findings suggest that young people are very ready to engage with scientific texts and metaphors, and they enthusiastically bring their immediate, real world knowledge to interpreting what they read and hear. They readily extend metaphors creatively; in some of our interviews, they developed chains of metaphorical reasoning collaboratively with each other, unfortunately leading to scientific inaccuracy.

We would suggest that materials writers and educators should be aware of this tendency to run with a metaphor, and could discuss the limitations of metaphors explicitly with young people. The project team consisted of myself, my colleagues at Leeds Dr Indira Banner, who is a science education researcher and Dr Shirley-Anne Paul, whose background is in reading and psycholinguistics, and from Lancaster University, Professor Elena Semino, who has used metaphor analysis to research communication in healthcare and other social issues.

A more detailed description of the project and findings about other metaphors in the three corpora is in Deignan, Paul and Semino submitted. References Deignan, A. Figurative Language, Genre and Register. Cambridge University Press. Deignan, A. Department for Education. Reform of the National Curriculum in England. Report of the consultation conducted February- April Scientific metaphors going public.

Journal of Pragmatics Shepardson, D. Roychoudhury, A. Hirsch, D. Niyogi, and S. Search for:.


Professor Alice Deignan



Metaphor and Corpus Linguistics


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