Proposal for a Semantic Hierarchy of Terminological Metaphors in Science and Technology

  •  Georgina Cuadrado    
  •  Pilar Durán    


Cognitive linguistics is considered as one of the most appropriate approaches to the study of scientific and technical language formation and development, where metaphor is accepted to play an essential role. This paper, based on the Cognitive Theory of Metaphor, takes as the starting point the terminological metaphors established in the research project METACITEC (Note 1), which was developed with the purpose of unfolding constitutive metaphors and their function in the language of science and technology. After the analysis of metaphorical terms and using a mixed corpus from the fields of Agriculture, Geology, Mining, Metallurgy, and other related technical fields, this study presents a proposal for a hierarchy of the selected metaphors underlying the scientific conceptual system, based on the semantic distance found in the projection from the source domain to the target domain. We argue that this semantic distance can be considered as an important parameter to take into account in order to establish the metaphoricity of science and technology metaphorical terms. The findings contribute to expand on the CTM stance that metaphor is a matter of cognition by reviewing the abstract-concrete conceptual relationship between the target and source domains, and to determine the role of human creativity and imagination in the language of science and technology configuration.

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