The analogy between French language and chemistry is used in many chemistry textbooks (for high school and university) and research articles in the field of chemical education. We have analyzed different versions of this analogy by using the theoretical frameworks of Gentner and Holyoak. As a result, we observed that the analogy version bonding French alphabet and chemical symbols is the more able to operate in students’ minds. Therefore, the use of this version of alphabet analogy in classrooms can potentially lead novice learners to conceptual and representational misunderstandings. Instead of the usual way, we propose to exploit the limits of this analogy in an analogical encoding process designed to emphasize the divergences between the two sign systems and thus specify the proper characteristics of the symbolic language of chemistry.
- chemical symbols