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AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 4, Number1. February  2020                       Pp. 148-160

The influence of Prior Knowledge on Learning Scientific Terminology: A Corpus-based Cognitive Linguistic Study of acceleration in Arabic and English

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

Hajar Abdul Rahim

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

Abstract:

Abstract PDF

The current paper expands on previous work done on the influence of learners’ language and pre-existing knowledge on understanding physics terminology by exploring the concept of acceleration in Arabic and English. The study attempts to answer two questions: (1) what are the similarities and differences between the polysemy of Arabic تَسَارُع (tasāruʿ) (acceleration) and the polysemy of English acceleration, and (2) to what extent do prototypes and factors motivating the conceptualization of تَسَارُع (tasāruʿ) and the conceptualization of acceleration converge or diverge? To this end, Arabic and English dictionaries and corpora, the ArabiCorpus (Arabic Corpus Search Tool) and the British National Corpus (BNC), were employed. The dictionaries were surveyed to explore the various meanings of تَسَارُع (tasāruʿ) and acceleration, while the ArabiCorpus and the BNC were employed to investigate the senses and to identify the most frequent collocates and so the prototypes of these terms. The meaning extension of the terms is examined on the basis of the cognitive mechanisms which appear in the corpora. Theoretically, the paper is informed by the prototype theory (Rosch, 1973; 1975), image schemas (Johnson, 1987), and conceptual metaphor (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980/2003). The results show that تَسَارُع (tasāruʿ) (acceleration) and acceleration generally overlap in terms of polysemy, prototype, and images schemas as well as conceptual metaphor that organize the conceptualization of these terms. It was also found that both Arab and English speakers mix acceleration up with speed and so misunderstand them in a scientific setting. The present findings have several implications for science curriculum design, education, and research on universal and culture-specific properties of language.

Cite as:

Hicham Lahlou, H., &  Rahim, H. A. (2020). The influence of Prior Knowledge on Learning Scientific Terminology: A Corpus-based Cognitive Linguistic Study of ACCELERATION in Arabic and English. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 4 (1) 148-160.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol4no1.12

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Hicham Lahlou, PhD is a Senior Lecturer in applied linguistics in the English Language Studies Department, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interests lie within English linguistics, semantics, morphology, cognitive linguistics, corpus linguistics, and
education. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2796-9877

Hajar Abdul Rahim, PhD is a Professor of linguistics in the English Language Studies Department, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia. Her current research interests include TESL, Corpus Linguistics, and Lexical Studies.