This paper deals with two questions: (1) what are some of the linguistic and cultural models used to name mechanical things? And (2) what kinds of data lend themselves to the study of these models? In response to the second question we explore the usefulness of 'exploded view parts diagrams' in studies of technical naming behavior. Such diagrams are available for most marketed machines of any complexity and they are available in several languages. Thus the investigator can explore comparatively how parts are named across cultural and linguistic boundaries. In response to the first question it seemed that Chinese, English, Spanish and Portuguese showed similarities in the metaphors and models they used for describing names related to bearings. Specifically, simple cultural models like balls, beads and needles together with cloth and clothing provided ready cultural models. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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