Women in Technology

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Weblog:   Technology and Language
Subject:   Metaphors and Categorization
Date:   2003-08-08 13:54:14
From:   anonymous2
Response to: Metaphors and Categorization

(from the first anonymous poster)


A friend of mine corresponded with Lakoff for years during college and spoke to me often about their conversations. One of his favorite points of all of the conversations is the conclusion that most language (even most thought) ultimately boils down to what experiences come from our own senses (how often is comprehension metaphorically linked to sight, for instance? My friend could rattle off dozens of examples of this which most folks never really think about.) Higher level metaphors spread out from that narrow, personal experience (from the realm of our own senses to the physical reality of the world around us, to direct experience and interaction with other people, and on outward). Once you reach a very high level of abstraction, my friend argued, metaphors might get lifted from the environment and applied to describe more internal ideas (for technology examples, how about 'That didn't register', or 'it just didn't compute', or even 'That doesn't count') but, rarely would you use a reference to something externally experienced and complex (like technology) to explain anything internal and directly experienced. Spotting fundamental metaphors is really hard work, and, as I said before, the whole field is great stuff to think about. You want a technology metaphor so far removed from its source that most folks don't even realize they're talking machinery? How about 'It's a doozy'.