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Taking advantage of the "Big Mo": Momentum in everyday english and swedish and in physics teaching
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Learning, Aesthetics, Natural science. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (TekNad)
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, Human-Centered systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2015 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 45, no 3, 345-365 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Science education research suggests that our everyday intuitions of motion and interaction of physical objects fit well with how physicists use the term “momentum”. Corpus linguistics provides an easily accessible approach to study language in different domains, including everyday language. Analysis of language samples from English text corpora reveals a trend of increasing metaphorical use of “momentum” in non-science domains, and through conceptual metaphor analysis, we show that the use of the word in everyday language, as opposed to for instance “force”, is largely adequate from a physics point of view. In addition, “momentum” has recently been borrowed into Swedish as a metaphor in domains such as sports, politics and finance, with meanings similar to those in physics. As an implication for educational practice, we find support for the suggestion to introduce the term “momentum” to English-speaking pupils at an earlier age than what is typically done in the educational system today, thereby capitalising on their intuitions and experiences of everyday language. For Swedish-speaking pupils, and possibly also relevant to other languages, the parallel between “momentum” and the corresponding physics term in the students’ mother tongue could be made explicit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2015. Vol. 45, no 3, 345-365 p.
Keyword [en]
Momentum, Corpus linguistics, Conceptual metaphor, Science education, Physics
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109311DOI: 10.1007/s11165-014-9426-xISI: 000355182800002OAI: diva2:737240
Available from: 2014-08-12 Created: 2014-08-12 Last updated: 2015-06-23

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Haglund, JesperJeppsson, FredrikAhrenberg, Lars
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Learning, Aesthetics, Natural scienceFaculty of Arts and SciencesFaculty of Educational SciencesHuman-Centered systemsThe Institute of Technology
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