Root Metaphor

To take – acquisition metaphor

Illustrative Example of Root Metaphor


The roots of the word Aprender can be found in the Latin roots of the word apprendere “to take hold of, grasp”. Broken down further from PIE root ad – “to, near, at” + pre PIE root “before” + PIE root ghende- “to seize, take”

Common phrases

Common phrases about learning

  • Aprendí a bailar – I learn to dance
  • No se me pegó – It didn’t stick to me
  • Cabeza de teflón – head of Teflon meaning - nothing sticks to your head
  • No le agarro - I cannot grab it.
  • Ya le agarré: I grabbed it.

Common phrases about teaching

  • El maestro ensueña – the teacher shows how to
  • Me diste parte de tu intelecto. De tu valioso tiempo - You have given me your intellect and your valuable time
  • Tan inmensa es tu transmisión, tan vasta tu sabiduría – So immense is your transmission and vastness of your wisdom
  • Eres voz que corrige e impulsa - You are a voice that corrects and impels.
  • Más que una informadora es una madre que pule el sentimiento de los niños - Teacher as a mother that polishes kids’ feelings.
  • Prepara el pasto para sus corderos - prepares the grass for her lambs

Common phrases about knowledge

  • Saber como - know how to
  • Vasta tu sabiduría – so vast is your wisdom

Phrases about knowing

  • Se nadar- I know how to swim

  • Aprender de memoriamemorize
  • Entender­ – to understand. From in- and tendere "to reach for"


The Spanish word aprender comes from the Latin word apprehendere which means to seize, grasp, cling to, embrace, apprehend.It is kin to akin to Ancient Greek χανδάνω (khandanō, "hold, contain").

To sieze or to take invokes the Acquisition Metaphor, which has a major influence on formal education. It depicts learning as the acquisition and accumulation of objectified knowledge. As such knowledge has physical properties that can be possessed, constructed, built upon, or lost. The teacher is responsible for passing knowledge on to the passive learner.

Implicit Spatial Associations

The taking – Acquisition Metaphor suggests an internalized notion of knowledge that is passed from the teacher to the learner.

Please cite this article as:
Francis, K., & Davis, B. & Preciado Babb, A.P. (2021) “Aprender" (Spanish) In Metaphors of Learning in Different Languages. .

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