AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 7, Number 1. February  2023                                Pp.21-32

The Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Concept of سرعة (Speed) in Arabic

Department of English Language Studies
School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Penang, Malaysia


Despite the wide range of studies on how students’ past knowledge influences their understanding of scientific terminology, few studies were conducted to compare non-scientific language with scientific language, or rather everyday language with scientific language, from a cognitive linguistic perspective. The present paper aims to determine the cognitive mechanisms, i.e., image schemas, conceptual metaphor, and conceptual metonymy, which underpin the conceptualisation of the Arabic term سرعة (speed), using a conceptual metaphor theory framework. Thus, the research question guiding this study is: What cognitive mechanisms underlie the concept of سرعة (speed) in Arabic? The findings of this study will shed light on how Arab speakers conceptualise this term, demonstrating their background knowledge of the term compared to its scientific meaning. The article adds to the growing body of cognitive linguistics research on the conceptual processes behind physics terms. The data was collected from the Arabic Web Corpus (arTenTen) using the Sketch Engine. The findings demonstrated that VERTICATLITY and SCALE schemas are the most dominant image schemas that anchor the conceptual meaning in Arab speakers’ perceptions of the term under investigation and the discourse in which it is employed, as well as offer the concrete basis for conceptual metaphors. The conceptual metaphor CHANGE IS MOTION (LOCATION) was also shown to be active in motivating the conception of SPEED in Arabic.
Keywords: Arabic, conceptualisation, conceptual metaphor, image schemas, cognitive mechanisms, speed

Cite as:

Lahlou, H. (2023). The Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Concept of سرعة (Speed) in Arabic. Arab World English
Journal for Translation & Literary Studies
7 (1). 21-32.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol7no1.2


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Hicham Lahlou (Ph.D.) is a Senior Lecturer in the English Language Studies Department of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Humanities. Through practical education, students are better equipped for the next learning level and the future. This pedagogical approach is intertwined with Dr Lahlou’s research interests in cognitive linguistics, semantics, corpus linguistics, and scientific terminology. ORCiD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2796-9877