Salt, taste and the conceptualization of intelligence

This guest blog is by Marco Bagli of the University of Perugia, who is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Glasgow working with the Mapping Metaphor project.

Japanese macaques have become notable for their wintery visits to the local spa, but a group of them, native to the island of Koshima, have been observed developing an even more peculiar behaviour: allegedly, they season their food. This pre-cultural behaviour, as it is addressed by primatologists, probably started off as a mere coincidence: macaques already used to dip sweet potatoes and other goods in water to wash off the sand. Crucially, and possibly accidentally, a female macaque called Imo’ started dipping sweet potatoes in salt water. This behaviour spread among other individuals and across generations, to the extent that now it does not function any longer simply as washing, but, possibly, also as seasoning. Other macaques have been observed dipping their potatoes in salt water between bites, pretty much as Homo sapiens dip chips in ketchup.

Japanese Macaque Fuscata Image 357

What macaques have recently discovered, or rather experienced, is the chemical property of salt (NaCl) to enhance flavours, by augmenting the volatility of aromas and hence their perceptibility. Salt is now found in all human diets, and Claude Marcel Hladik, a French primatologist, hypothesises that human exploitation of salt might date back to the early stages of the history of the genus Homo, i.e. roughly 2millions years ago.

In English, we can refer to somebody’s witty remarks as being salty (in the Metaphor Map’s 2A10 ‘Cleverness’ category), and someone’s speech can even be referred to as salted (OED, salted, meaning 3); conversely, if someone gives us the impression of being rather dull or stupid we can call him insipid (2A14 ‘Stupidity’). The word insipid originated in Latin, where it refers both to a lack of taste and of sensibleness. It derives from the verb sapio, -ere, which means both to taste and to know. In English, the lexical items related to this Latin root are insipid and insipidity (2A14 ‘Stupidity’, 2A15 ‘Foolishness’, 2A16 ‘Intellectual weakness’, 2A17 ‘Foolish person’), but the metaphorical link has motivated other expressions, such as †wearish (2A14 ‘Stupidity’) and †savourly (2A11 ‘Wisdom’, c1450–1664).

The conceptual metaphor that motivates this overlap is INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITY IS TASTE – but why do we have salty as a lexical item that describes intelligence and not, say, flavoursome, or tasty? Conversely, if the metaphor was *INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITY IS SALT, why don’t we have words that denote lack of salt (like unsalted, or sweet) to refer to lack of intelligence, as we would expect?

The reason behind the seeming incongruence in the metaphorical transfer lies in the chemical properties of salt (NaCl): its ability to enhance aromas lays the embodied foundations for a conceptual metonymy, in which a particular taste is understood as referring to the general capacity of tasting. This metonymy may be as old as the usage of salt, and one of its first linguistic realizations is to be found in the Gospel of Matthew (5:13) where Jesus refers to his followers as being “the salt of the earth”. It cognates with the Italian idiomatic expression avere il sale in zucca, which literally translates to “to have salt in the squash”: the squash refers to the head of somebody, and the overall semantic meaning is “to be sensible”. The metaphor though is epitomised in the Italian word sciocco, which means “dumb, stupid”; but it can also mean “unsalted, insipid” (mainly in Tuscany).

Salt is an important component in human diets, and its usage may be as old as the first individuals in the genus Homo. It is exploited throughout human cultures for several reasons, the most common being its ability to enhance flavours; and even our close relatives have recently experienced its chemical properties. A thread of metaphorical transfer seems to run from the Bible through Latin, Italian and English and helps modern humans conceptualise their own cognition and intelligence, their strength and weakness: salt.

Online buzz (metaphorically speaking)

July has been a busy month for the Mapping Metaphor team, not least because we made the Metaphor Map of English freely-available to the public. We have had an absolutely amazing response from both academics and the wider public, and have had around 18,000 individual users (and counting!) from 144 different countries trying out the website this month. On this note, we thought we might round up some of the articles and social media buzz for your enjoyment. Please see below for a variety of links, from a Storify of some of the best tweets to the original press release:

Storify of some of the best tweets:

The Guardian:

Yossarian Lives:

Editorial in The Herald:

The Herald:

Sunday Herald:



The Paris Review:

History Extra: (Though please note the misleading headline! We know metaphors are more than 1300 years old but are only looking at the history of the English language which dates its earliest written sources to around 1300 years ago.)

Arts and Humanities Research Council:

University of Glasgow original press release:

Birds, Pride, Fear and Courage

This post was written by Sarah Muller, one of our Mapping Metaphor research placement students.

David de Coninck - Een pauw, een papegaai, kalkoenen, hanen, konijnen en een cavia in een park

In English, we refer to a show-off as a peacock, someone who is easily frightened is called a chicken and individuals competing for dominance in a social situation will be said to be in a cock-fight. Given that the relationship between humans and birds as domesticated animals is as old as civilisations themselves, it is not surprising that these birds have influenced numerous areas of language.  Using data from the Mapping Metaphor project, this case study will provide an overview of the way in which the language related to pride, courage and fear draws on terminology from the category of birds (1E09).

Focusing on the metaphorical links between birds and pride, one may suggest that the (extravagant) physical appearance of the birds in question plays an important role. When a peacock’s colourful feathers are spread out, its appearance is quite impressive. A rooster can be distinguished from hens by its bright red comb and colourful feathers. Thus, individuals who are vain, proud or conceited are often referred to as being a “peacock”, “peachick”, or also “cockscomb”. In a similar light, the expression “to preen” draws on the image of birds tending their feathers, which gave rise to the figurative meaning of individuals who dedicate much effort to their appearance (OED online, preen, verb 2).

We find similarly strong links between the category of birds and courageous behaviour. Most of these metaphors are linked to the concept of courage with an underlying assumption that there is a willingness to engage in aggressive, potentially violent, behaviour. Even though people nowadays might consider lions or tigers to be more stereotypically courageous animals than birds, one needs to take into account that these metaphors entered our language system in the second half of the sixteenth century – a time when domesticated birds were part of every household. We refer to a man as a “cock” if he enjoys physical fights, and the expressions “cock fighting”  and “cock of the game” originate from the blood sport cockfighting, which was banned in the UK in the nineteenth century but it is still popular (and legal) in other parts of the world today. Another related expression is “that cock won’t fight” which, figuratively speaking, means that something will not happen. Part of the origins of these figurative uses may also lie in the fact that a rooster occupies a dominant position among a group of hens, and has tendency to fight other roosters to assert this dominance.

As indicated above, in the case of many birds, the males have a colourful and noticeable appearance whereas the females tend to be more inconspicuous in comparison. This distinction seems to have been taken over in the metaphorical expressions which link the category of birds to the categories of pride, courage and fear. Whereas peacocks and roosters symbolise pride and courage, based on their extravagant appearance and occasionally violent behaviour, the metaphorical links between birds and women are generally based on attributes linked to fear and weakness. We refer to someone as a “chicken” or a “pigeon” when they are, according to the OED, “as timorous or defenceless as a chicken” (OED online, chicken, noun, sense 3b).  It is interesting to note that the terms “hen” and “duck” are also often used as terms of endearment to refer to young women. “Turn tail” refers to cowardice when someone figuratively turns their back on something and runs away from a situation; similarly “white-feathered” also refers to cowardly behaviour. Lastly, expressions such as “goose-skin” and “chicken-flesh” draw on the flesh of these birds to describe the condition of human skin when affected by this physical symptom of fear.

The Solar System, the Stars and Earth: “Everything looks perfect from far away”

This post was written by Robin Sapkota, one of our Mapping Metaphor research placement students.

NASA Unveils Celestial Fireworks as Official Hubble 25th Anniversary Image

Broadly speaking, the Metaphor Map reveals that the Sun is good, the stars are good and the sky is good as well as divine. Planets are more neutral and are good for thinking about science and map onto measurements of time, shape and space, chemistry and alchemy as well as the idea of success. The Earth is, by contrast, a little too close for comfort and is generally, although not exclusively, bad. It maps onto people, material existence and actions, as well as evil and negative/material aspects of faith.

When thinking about the sun and planets in terms of body parts we use expressions to do with the face, for example ‘visage’ (the face or front part of the head, OED online, visage, noun, sense 1). When thinking about constellations and comets we map from the categories of hair and animal body parts with “comets…vulgarly distinguished into three kinds, bearded, tailed and hairy” (cited 1783, OED online, bearded, adj, sense 4). We also use the related category of reptiles to describe constellations with an example being the southern constellation Hydrus, which is described by J.Ferguson in 1757 as “the water-snake” (OED online, water-snake, noun, sense 3). Therefore suns and planets are thought of as being more like humans whereas comets and constellations are seen as being closer to animals and the more animalistic human feature of hair.

We use the sky to think about the category of size and spatial extent with specific reference to the direction of up; for example, ‘skyish’ and ‘skyward’. This correlation with an upward direction is also demonstrated through a mapping of the category of buildings and inhabited places onto the sky exemplified through our reference to the sky as a ‘roof’ or a ‘canopy’. The sky correlates with the idea of the direction up which is typically associated with good things and also maps onto the protective element of roofs and, indeed, also serves to protect us from the abyss of space which, whilst likely unknown to our ancestors, is reflected in its metaphoric use and this is illustrated in the saying “when the sky falls down” in reference to death or the end of the world, of which there will be little distinction to the individual affected.

Stars map onto the category of relative position with ‘constellated’, in the sense of a ‘cluster of stars’, used to describe something “formed into, or set in, a constellation” in terms of the perceived grouping of stars with an example being “daisies…the constellated flower that never sets” (OED online, constellated, adj, sense 2.a, c1820). The category of constellations and comets also map onto relative position with ‘nucleus’ referring to the center of something and this term is first cited in the OED relating to the center of a comet in 1668 (OED online, nucleus, noun, sense 1). In comparison the category of social position is reflected in terms of the Earth through ‘world’, ‘all the world’ (in the sense of “they are the best in the world”) and ‘mundane’ (“he tells an engrossing story, livelier than 99% of mundane history” (OED online, mundane, adj, sense A.6). The earth therefore relates to the, rather arbitrary, human statuses and social positions whilst the stars, comets and constellations are viewed as being more absolute and reflect the actual, physical relation of things.

The category of movement and specific direction maps in both directions between the sun and planets. When using the former we say things like ‘uprise’, ‘sink’ and ‘sunwise’ to refer to both the, perceived, direction of travel of the sun and the movement of an observed entity on earth. We use terms such as ‘wandering’, ‘planetary’ and ‘errant’ in the same way with reference to planets and entities. When thinking about the rate of movement and speed we use terms relating to comets such as ‘meteorous’ and ‘meteoric’ and we often use expression such as “a meteoric rise” to describe rapid success .

We use the category of shape to describe the sky (‘vault’, ‘convex’ and concave) with these, roughly, round shapes being mapped onto sky whilst planets, particularly the moon, are used to describe, approximately, a semi-circle shape with examples such as ‘half-moon’ and ‘lunary’ (as in ‘crescent shaped’), being taken from the category of planets and applied to shapes. Stars and the category of constellations and comets map in both directions with certain shapes being viewed in terms of ‘stars’ and ‘asterisk’ and stars also being viewed in these terms. Constellations and comets are thought of in terms of more common shapes such as ‘triangles’, spirals’ and ‘globes’ and, again, this transfer of meaning works in both directions.

Related to shapes are containers. We use the category of containers to visualize constellations with examples such as ‘water-pot’, ‘can’ and ‘coal-sack’. In terms of alchemy we often use the names of planets such as ‘mercury’ and ‘luna’ (a term in use until the 19th c for silver). Chemistry likewise makes use of planets with ‘jove’ referring to tin and ‘mars’ referring to iron up until the 18th c.

Stars are useful when we think about the category of authority and control with terms such as ‘lodestar/loadstar’ and ‘polar star’ both referring, roughly, to guidance. By contrast the earth is used when thinking about the category of church government with an example being ‘temporal’ and ‘terrestrial’ (concerning this temporary world as opposed to heaven – OED online, terrestrial, adj, sense A.1). In this sense we can get an idea that church government, which is essentially the basis of law, is a temporary ‘caretaker’, so to speak, that derives its authority from the guidance of the stars.

This duality between that which is far away and that which is close is also reflected when we think about the category deity compared with more ‘earthly’ human attributes and states. ‘Sky’ maps onto deity, in the sense of “the big guy in the sky”, and also the word ‘heavens’ correlates with the sky with an example being “it rains heavens-high” (OED online, heavens, adv). The Earth contrasts starkly mapping onto the categories of faith and moral evil with sample lexemes such as ‘worldy’, ‘mundane’ and ‘earthly’ in the sense of “resist the earthly pleasures” and these two categories are closely connected when thought about in terms of the earth. Existence and character are thought about using similar terms, primarily ‘world’ and ‘earthly’ as well as ‘terrestrene’ which, according to the Historical Thesaurus, correlates approximately to ‘natural’ and ‘temporary’ existence. The Earth therefore relates to the bad and unimportant aspects of human faith, evil and existence whilst the sky maps onto that which is divine.

This can also be seen when we think of the category of performance arts and film. We liken those who have great success and prestige in the arts to ‘stars’ where we think of ordinary people as being ‘mundane’ and ‘terrestrial’ and this suggests that we view those who excel in the arts as possessing something divine that is in contrast with the more ‘mundane’ attributes of human beings.

When we think about the more positive and abstract aspects of human attributes we use that which is far away. When thinking about success we map onto the sun and planets with words like ‘apogee’ (the greatest altitude reached by the sun or a planet – OED online, apogee, noun, Senses 1 and 2). Good is thought of in terms of the sun (in the sense of “he’s my sun”), the stars (“she’s a star”) and sky with example being ‘heavenly’. Esteem is also thought of in terms of the stars with ‘stellify’ correlating with terms such as ‘enhance’, ‘exalt’ and ‘raise’ in the Historical Thesaurus. It also correlates with constellations and comets with terms such as ‘stellation’ (meaning the act of being ‘sublime’ or ‘exalted’) which takes its origin from a group of stars or a constellation.

To borrow a line from the song ‘Such Great Heights’ by The Postal service, “everything looks perfect from far away”.  This seems particularly apt when we think about the solar system, the stars and the earth. The Earth is bad, the sun, sky and stars are good, and the planets and comets are more neutral with planets being slightly better. Comets seem to be unexpected and are more neutral although a tendency to think of them in terms of reptiles, animals and hair suggests a view of them as foreign and therefore bad. Our view of bad things in terms of the earth is likely due to our close proximity to it. Whilst the sun may seem wonderful from our current position it is likely that being as close to the sun as we are to the earth would change this view, assuming we had time to comprehend the thought. That which lies in and beyond our skies seems to have been viewed as divine and what humans should aspire to and this is likely due to these perceptions and observations offering an escape from the often harsh realities of everyday life on Earth in the history of English.

Metaphors of (rather than in) Literature

Page from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer printed by William Caxton 1477This post was written by Sarah Muller, one of our Mapping Metaphor research placement students.

Any literary text, be it a short story, poem or novel, will have as many interpretations as there are readers. Whether or not we like someone’s writing style is highly subjective and can sometimes be difficult to capture in words. It is thus not surprising that there exist numerous metaphorical links between the category ‘literature’ and other categories within the English language, as these metaphorical expressions enable us to talk about things as complex and abstract as literature and literary style.

This is especially true when we describe the style in which a text was written and, indeed, we often compare literary styles to real, concrete objects. We conceptualise writing styles as texture when we describe them as “coarse”, “stiff” or “smooth”. Interesting to note here is that the metaphorical link between textiles and literature is highly systematic. This can further be illustrated with the example that we can refer to an author as a “yarn-spinner”, referring to their ability to create and develop a plot for a story which is compared to yarn, or even “embroiders”, referring to their ability to embellish their writing style, thus conceptualising the text as a cloth that is further decorated.

Another strong metaphorical link exists between literature and different categories related to the human body. Thus, we compare literary style to a person when we assess its physical strength using terms such as “strong”, “feeble” or “weak”, however someone’s writing style can also be described as “toothless” or “nervous”.

When we talk about a text as being “pappy”, “sloppy” or “watery”, we use metaphorical expressions which are underpinned by the idea that literary style can be compared to liquids. Furthermore, the category of light also has a strong metaphorical connection with literature, as we can describe a text as being “clear”, “brilliant” or “luminous”. Whereas we mostly draw on the domain of light to describe texts that are straightforward and well-written (although an exception here may be the term “obscure”), we generally use terms from the domain of atmosphere and weather to talk about texts that are confusing, these may be described as “misty”, “cloudy” or “foggy”.

Fear: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

This case-study was written by Sarah Muller, one of our Mapping Metaphor research placement students.

In our western societies fear is often written off as a negative emotion that is a sign of weakness. Yet fear is an important human emotion, and some psychologists even argue that fear is an innate emotion. Whether you are a child scared of monsters under your bed or an adult frightened of what the COS 09.JPGfuture holds – we all experience different degrees of fear in certain situations. But how is fear conceptualised in the English language, and how do we use metaphors to talk about the experience of fear?

Using the data from the Mapping Metaphor project, this case study focuses on some of the areas in the English language that have strong metaphorical connections with the concept of fear:

  • The Body: muscles and cartilage (1B15), bodily excretion (1B20), the brain and the nervous system (1B24)
  • Animals: birds (1E09), other clawed animals (1E13), ruminants (1E17)
  • Types of movement (1N02), progressive movement (1N03)
  • Atmosphere and weather (1A28)
  • Geological features (1A15)
  • Colour (1J34), darkness (1J33), individual colours (1J35).

A person who is scared may experience accelerated breathing, increased heart rate, flushed face, increased muscle tension, shaking and sweating. Indeed, the way we talk about fear using conceptual metaphors is heavily anchored in the physical aspects of its symptoms. Experiencing “cold sweat”, getting “cold feet” and “hair that stands up on the back of one’s neck” have become figurative language to talk about fear, yet they are also rooted in its physical experience. When we refer to someone as “nervous,” we draw on the domain of the brain and the nervous system. Furthermore, when someone has “goose bumps” or “chicken flesh”, we compare their skin condition to that of birds to indicate their emotional state. Indeed, individuals who have a tendency to be easily frightened are often compared to animals that are known for being timid such as mice, leverets, chicken or sheep.

We also use terms taken from the category of movement to talk about fear; expressions such as “shudder”, “tremble”, “quiver”, “jumpy”, “the shakes” or “tremulous” all refer to types of movements or physical reactions that people may exhibit when they are frightened. Furthermore, common expressions such as “to make one’s skin crawl” or “to make one’s flesh creep” use words that literally refer to progressive, slow movements to indicate the uncomfortable experience of fear. The words “creepy” and “creeping” can also be used to refer to things or people that make one shudder with fear. Lastly, it seems interesting to point out that at the start of the nineteenth century, calling someone “ticklish” meant they were easily scared. However, this meaning of “ticklish” has been lost over the course of time.

As a result of extreme fear, individuals can sometimes experience paralysis, a state that is also reflected in our metaphors. These draw largely on the domains of atmosphere and weather, as well as geological features. For example, when we are scared we can be “frozen” with fear or “petrified”, which literally means “converted into stone or a stony substance” (OED online, petrified, adjective, sense 1).

Lastly, we also use colour terms to talk about fear. For example, we say that someone turned pale or white, thus referring to their changing skin tone due to the blood being drained from the face. Black, on the other hand, is used to describe horrifying or macabre things that may cause somebody to be scared.

Angels, Devils and Human Attributes

This post was written by Robin Sapkota, one of our Mapping Metaphor research placement students.

Giacinto Gimignani - An Angel and a Devil Fighting for the Soul of a Child - WGA08997

The earliest recorded citation of ‘angel’ in the OED occurs in the Lindisfarne Gospels in 950AD and, along with ‘devil’ which has its first OED citation 150 years earlier, has likely undergone little change in literal meaning since. The Mapping Metaphor resource demonstrates that ‘devil’ is the polar opposite of ‘angel’, as opposed to God, and, in line with Christian theology, ‘angel’ represents all that is good in humans whereas the ‘devil’, a fallen angel, maps onto all that is bad. We find that the concept ‘angel’ maps onto the category of babies and young people and, when looking at the mapping of ‘angel’ and ‘devil’, we get the idea that, as these ‘little angels’ grow, there is a tendency to succumb to the ‘devilish’ aspects of humanity culminating in a fall from grace.

‘Devil’ exhibits a greater degree of mapping onto other categories and this reflects the ‘devilish’ human attributes, as reflected in metaphoric transfer, outweighing the ‘angelic’ ones with the former having 7 of its 9 connections relating directly to humans where the latter having 4, in total.

In addition to this, ‘devil’ also maps onto the categories of animals and habitats (‘beast’ and ‘Satanas’ which is a 15th c term for ‘feral’ or ‘savage’) as well as dirtiness (‘foul’, ‘ragamuffin’). Both of these categories are bi-directional with the transfer of meaning working in both directions. For example, when we think of an animal in terms of the word ‘beast’ we mean the ‘lower animals, as distinct from humans’ (OED, beast, noun, sense 1.C) and it is also used with direct reference to ‘quadruped’, or four-legged, animals such as horses (OED, beast, noun, sense 2.a). By contrast, when the category of animals and habitats is transferred to ‘devil’ we use ‘beast’ in the sense of “the animal nature (in humans)” (OED, beast, noun, sense 1.d). If we consider ‘foul’ we find that, when mapped to dirtiness, it is something that is “grossly offensive to the senses, physically loathsome” (OED, foul, noun, sense 1.a) and, in this sense, transfers to the ‘devil’ so that we view the ‘devil’ as the incarnation of things physically repulsive and, if we combine dirtiness and animals and attach it to humans, the ‘devil’ can be used to refer to the most revolting aspects of the lower animal nature made manifest in humans. This demonstrates the way in which the bi-directionality of the transfer of meanings is inextricably linked. Excluding these exceptions, both ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ map onto very similar categories and it is of note that in both cases the transfer of meaning goes in one direction with the meanings of ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ being attributed to humans but not the other way round.

By contrast, when we consider the category of ‘deity’ we find that this is a larger category (referring to everything from farming, the sky, wisdom, rule and government, etc.) with 30 connections in total.  This contrast further emphasizes the fact that the metaphoric mappings of ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ reflect the understanding of these concepts in Christianity.

The duality of these terms is reflected in the category of Physical Appearance. In this sense ‘angel’ refers to “a lovely, bright, innocent, or gracious being” (OED online, angel, noun, sense 1.d) in contrast with a ‘mahound’ (1400s – hideous, loathsome), ‘diabolical’ appearance onto which ‘devil’ maps. Where ‘angel’ maps onto the category of Love and Friendship, ‘cherub’ and ‘seraph’ (1850s – ‘beloved’, ‘passion’, ‘sweetest’), ‘devil’ maps onto the category of Hatred and Hostility with words like ‘fiendly<feondlic’ (OE-a1529 – ‘hostile’, ‘friendless’) and ‘devilish’. ‘Angel’ maps onto the category of Virtue with the adjective ‘angelic’ compared with ‘devil’ corresponding to the Category of Moral Evil with the adjective ‘satanical’.

As mentioned above, the only category in which ‘angel’ does not occur alongside ‘devil’ is Babies and Young People (‘cherub’, ‘angelet’) and this is understandable as it would seem odd to think of babies as ‘devils’. ‘Devil’ corresponds, independently of ‘angel’, to the categories of Bad (‘devilish’, ‘satanical’), Pride (‘Luciferous’) and Greatness and intensity (‘diabolical’ in the sense of “that coffee was diabolical”). This last example demonstrates a weakening, or ‘bleaching’, of meaning and when we use this metaphor we do not really mean that the coffee is like the devil but rather that it is particularly bad as far as coffee goes. This demonstrates the pervasive nature of such metaphoric uses in everyday language.

Perhaps the most fascinating revelation of the Metaphor Map, when thinking about human attributes in relation to the concepts ‘angel’ and ‘devil’, is the extent to which the ‘devilish’ aspects outnumber the ‘angelic’ ones. Babies and young people are ‘angelic’ by virtue of not having been in the world for very long and this is really a default state void of intention. This leaves 3 categories onto which ‘angel’ maps relating to human attributes involving volition of some kind compared to 7 for ‘devil’. It would appear to be the case that, in the history of English, we have displayed a tendency to think of humans as ‘devils’ rather than ‘angels’. I shall leave it to the reader to conclude whether this is due to a general pessimism among the inhabitants of the British Isles or is simply a reflection of human behavior.


We have a public talk today as part of the West End Festival. Details here:

We also have a stall at Glasgow Science Festival’s ‘Science Sunday’ event on Sunday 14th June at the University of Glasgow. More details via this link:

Hope to see you there!

Metaphor in the Curriculum

adult-education-pic no attrib

As the Mapping Metaphor with the Historical Thesaurus project draws to a close (and please watch out for the launch of our website in early July), we have set our sights on taking our research on metaphor and bringing it into education. We are very happy to have secured AHRC-funding for a follow-on project, Metaphor in the Curriculum, and members of the project will be working with schools and educational bodies in Scotland over the next year. The project draws on the detailed empirical research carried out for the Mapping Metaphor project and uses it to create resources for schools.

We aim to produce materials which help pupils to understand and use metaphor, with the help of our Metaphor Map, and which help teachers to provide training in metaphor as part of English classes in the senior phase of secondary school. Though metaphor might seem a fairly narrow area of the curriculum, our scope is broad and encompasses literature, journalism, non-fiction and creative writing. Our current focus is on engaging with teachers to find out what they would like from us and we will be meeting with teachers of English in Glasgow and Stirlingshire over the next month. By this time next year, we will have a range of educational resources available freely online, including an app and interactive quizzes as well as more traditional worksheets, etc. for use in the classroom. Though our resources will be developed with the Scottish curriculum in mind, they have the potential to be used anywhere and will be open to absolutely everyone.