Digital Literacy and Metaphorical Models

Carolina Girón García, Ignasi Navarro Ferrando


It is an acknowledged fact that the appearance of new genres in cyberspace has shifted the main focus of instruction strategies nowadays. Learners of any field are challenged by the acquisition of a new type of literacy, digital literacy –how to read and write, or how to interact, in and through the Internet. In this line, websites often show expressions like "home", "visit", "down-load", "link", etc. which are used in a new sense that did not exist before the digital era. Such expressions constitute the manifestation of mental models that have been transferred from traditional conceptual domains onto the new knowledge domain of the Internet. These conceptual metaphors are some of the cognitive models that help in the conceptualization of new cybergenres. This paper points at describing how these cognitive models build our notion of diverse cybergenres in English – e.g. the weblog, the social network, the cybertask. Our aim here consists in detecting these metaphorical models as well as describing and classifying their conceptual mappings between domains. With that purpose, some digital materials are analyzed, so as to test the hypothesis that such mappings and models guide the user's representation of the genre, as a coherent structure.


Digital literacy; New literacies; Spontaneous new literacies; New technology skills; Learning styles; Style-blending; Style-switching; ICT’s

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