L’analogie entre la langue française et la chimie: analyse linguistique et didactique

Translated title of the contribution: The analogy between chemistry and french language: a linguistic and didactical analysis

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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.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)9-27
Number of pages19
JournalEducation et didactique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018



  • analogy
  • alphabet
  • chemical symbols
  • atom
  • language

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