Metaphors of Learning in Different Languages

How do different languages describe learning? What were the original metaphors used to make sense of this complex phenomena? How does that conception manifest in terms of our understanding of teaching and learning?

This project began when we became aware of the very different original meanings of the word learn across languages spoken by our close friends. In English, the root of the word learn is the proto-Indo-European –lois, ‘track.’ – that is, English speakers might be inclined to interpret learning in terms of routes and ruts. We have attempted to create a composite visual metaphor to afford a sense of how the original meaning of learn currently permeates the language.


Note: This started as a complement of another project, where we are working on gathering and critically examining discourses on learning (at Go have a look and see if you can see this notion of progressing in any of the learning discourses.

Another note: The entries are all works in progress. If you have insights into one of these languages (or one not on the map yet), please contact us. We would be happy for more information.