Roldan Riejos, Ana Maria
Building Big is Thinking Big: Conceptual and Linguistic Networks in Architecture and Civil Engineering.
In: "8th International Conference on Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM8)", 01/07/2010 - 04/07/2010, Amsterdam, Paises Bajos.
During the last decade, the study of metaphor in use (both written and spoken) has received considerable attention in cognitive linguistics research (Cameron and Low 1999, Deignan 2005, Steen 2007, Zanotto et al. 2008). It appears that a good deal of interest has consolidated around figurative language and metaphor use in academic settings (Low 1999, Cortazzi and Jin 1999, Littlemore and Low 2006). Some of the studies aim to show that metaphor use in the classroom may improve and reinforce comprehension and communicative skills in EFL learners. In this paper we focus on part of the mental mappings that some specific learners, namely architecture and civil engineering students, need to activate when matching language and professional knowledge. We will explore some of the conceptual and linguistic networks that students have to operate with in order to assimilate and internalize their discourse community. With this aim, conceptual integration (blending) theory, including meaning compression and decompression (Fauconnier & Turner 2002), has been applied. Also, a selected repertoire of examples taken from architecture and civil engineering domains, e.g. salient journals and books, has been examined to extract information. The findings confirm that non-literal metaphorical language, combined with the occurrence of image schemas, seems systematic and constitutive of both discursive areas. The conclusions suggest that metaphorical conceptual and linguistic structures appear to lend more coherence to these technical domains (for example by creating more word meanings) and, on the other hand, that metaphor fluency is a must for architects and engineers expertise, despite not being actually made explicit. Likewise, the first results of a survey carried out at Madrid Technical University (UPM) are presented. The main aim of the survey was to elucidate to what extent students incorporate learning strategies and discourse community into their knowledge and whether this internalization parallels other types of processing like image perception and description