Metaphor teaching tip of the day: computer words

Posted by on April 19, 2011

Computer metaphors

When new words are needed in order to describe things that did not exist before, they are often created by means of metaphor. With the growth of computer technology, we need words to describe many new objects and activities – and most of these new words have been produced metaphorically.

Although a website is not a physical place, we can visit it as we would visit a friend or a place of interest. Similarly, a mailbox can now mean the part of a computer’s memory where email is stored. Thinking of it as the physical place where letters written on paper are delivered helps us to understand the technology.

1 The metaphors that are used in computer language come from many different areas of life. Which areas do the following terms come from?

virus     window     exit     memory     icon

2 Try to think of more recent examples of computer words which have been created by means of metaphor.

Note: the answers to the exercises will be given at the end of this week.

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