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METAPHORS, SIMILE, IDIOMS, ETC

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SIDDaRTHA GAUTAMA (BUDDHA)

 

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha

Tired of reading Kama Sutra

Rejected his privileged birth and raising

Reclined under the Buddha Tree, *navel gazing

 

*omphaloskepsis: literally, the contemplation of one's navel, which is an idiom usually meaning complacent self-absorption.


Metaphors may be inferred by a phrase, eg from my poem, Perspiration (posted here on PoetrySoup.com):

on my golden baked skin


 DIVORCE

 

A movement

among the leaves

announces its presence.

Stealthily it moves.

Rocking back and forth,

simulating a branch

moving in the wind.

 

The chameleon

whipped

his sticky tongue out -

snaring

the unsuspecting bug.

A sacrifice

to satisfy its hunger.

 

Instinctively

I look around

to make sure

that I was alone.

 

My divorce

had left me jittery.

He had snared another.

The above Free Verse poem, Divorce, is littered with metaphors. See if you can identify the various types of metaphors employed here.



Example of Simile, from my poem, Diving In (posted here on PoetrySoup.com):

 

Sand, like grains of wisdom, needling

 

Mixing metaphors:

“Some people like to impose their own way of thinking on others as to what constitutes metaphor, simile, etc, and it makes me red under collar!” 

 

Copyright © 2012 Dance of the Words – a Guide to Various Poetry Forms, by Suzette Richards. All rights reserved.

 

ISBN 978-0-620-54801-4


***

Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.


OVERVIEW

 

In grammar, a phrase is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. Most phrases have a central word defining the type of phrase. This word is called the head of the phrase. Some phrases, however, can be headless. For example, the rich is a noun phrase composed of a determiner and an adjective without a noun.

 

IDIOMS

An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate to the literal or definition of the words of which it is made.

ANALOGIES

An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them.

    

METAPHOR

A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor.


The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards, reports that metaphor is in two parts:

the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the "all the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7


In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.


A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile, and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

 


allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject


catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)


parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson.


Common types


A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed.


An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.


A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first.


Per Hans Blumenberg’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic and theoretical views of Man and the World.

 

 

Uncommon types


Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-mnomenclatures are not as universally accepted):


An etaphor is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for virtue.


An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.


A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.


A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.


A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel


An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder—A British TV series.)


An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.


An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.


An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-sick person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.


A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.


A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.


A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

 

SIMILE

 

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as.


Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech: eg


"Curley was flopping like a fish on a line." - John Steinbeck

 


A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit: eg


He fights like a lion.

In contrast, the following simile explicitly state the features that are predicated of each target: eg

He was as a lion in the fight.

Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features. Similes are preferred if a user wants to associate an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary property with a target. Examples:

Stereotypes

as proud as a peacock


Irony


as fast as a three-legged cheetah



Without 'like' or 'as'


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

 

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. These alterations result in figures of speech.


Details and examples


In traditional analysis, words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage, while the words in figurative expressions connote—they add layers of meaning. To convert an utterance into meaning, the human mind requires a cognitive framework, made up of

 

 

memories of all the possible meanings that might be available to apply to the particular words in their context. This set of memories will give prominence to the most common or literal meanings, but also suggest reasons for attributing different meanings, e.g., the reader understands that the author intended it to mean something different.


For example, the sentence, "The Ground is thirsty", is partly figurative. "Ground" has a literal meaning, but the ground is not alive and therefore neither needs to drink nor feels thirst. Readers immediately reject a literal interpretation and confidently interpret the words to mean "The ground is dry," an analogy to the condition that would trigger thirst in an animal.

 

However, the statement, "When I first saw her, my soul began to quiver," is harder to interpret. It could describe infatuation, panic, or something else entirely. The context a person requires to interpret this statement is familiarity with the speaker's feelings. Other people can give a few words a provisional set of meanings, but cannot understand the figurative utterance until acquiring more information.

 

A synopsis of the Downloaded lecture notes from:

http: teachingresource.wikispaces.com/

 

 Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.


OVERVIEW

 

In grammar, a phrase is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. Most phrases have a central word defining the type of phrase. This word is called the head of the phrase. Some phrases, however, can be headless. For example, the rich is a noun phrase composed of a determiner and an adjective without a noun.

 

IDIOMS

An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate to the literal or definition of the words of which it is made.

ANALOGIES

An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them.

    

METAPHOR

A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor.


The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards, reports that metaphor is in two parts:

the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the "all the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7


In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.


A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile, and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

 


allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject


catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)


parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson.


Common types


A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed.


An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.


A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first.


Per Hans Blumenberg’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic and theoretical views of Man and the World.

 

 

Uncommon types


Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-mnomenclatures are not as universally accepted):


An etaphor is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for virtue.


An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.


A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.


A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.


A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel


An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder—A British TV series.)


An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.


An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.


An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-sick person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.


A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.


A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.


A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

 

SIMILE

 

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as.


Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech: eg


"Curley was flopping like a fish on a line." - John Steinbeck

 


A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit: eg


He fights like a lion.

In contrast, the following simile explicitly state the features that are predicated of each target: eg

He was as a lion in the fight.

Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features. Similes are preferred if a user wants to associate an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary property with a target. Examples:

Stereotypes

as proud as a peacock


Irony


as fast as a three-legged cheetah



Without 'like' or 'as'


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

 

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. These alterations result in figures of speech.


Details and examples


In traditional analysis, words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage, while the words in figurative expressions connote—they add layers of meaning. To convert an utterance into meaning, the human mind requires a cognitive framework, made up of

 

 

memories of all the possible meanings that might be available to apply to the particular words in their context. This set of memories will give prominence to the most common or literal meanings, but also suggest reasons for attributing different meanings, e.g., the reader understands that the author intended it to mean something different.


For example, the sentence, "The Ground is thirsty", is partly figurative. "Ground" has a literal meaning, but the ground is not alive and therefore neither needs to drink nor feels thirst. Readers immediately reject a literal interpretation and confidently interpret the words to mean "The ground is dry," an analogy to the condition that would trigger thirst in an animal.

 

However, the statement, "When I first saw her, my soul began to quiver," is harder to interpret. It could describe infatuation, panic, or something else entirely. The context a person requires to interpret this statement is familiarity with the speaker's feelings. Other people can give a few words a provisional set of meanings, but cannot understand the figurative utterance until acquiring more information.

 

A synopsis of the Downloaded lecture notes from:

http: teachingresource.wikispaces.com/

 

 Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.


OVERVIEW

 

In grammar, a phrase is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. Most phrases have a central word defining the type of phrase. This word is called the head of the phrase. Some phrases, however, can be headless. For example, the rich is a noun phrase composed of a determiner and an adjective without a noun.

 

IDIOMS

An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate to the literal or definition of the words of which it is made.

ANALOGIES

An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them.

    

METAPHOR

A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor.


The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards, reports that metaphor is in two parts:

the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the "all the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7


In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.


A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile, and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

 


allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject


catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)


parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson.


Common types


A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed.


An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.


A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first.


Per Hans Blumenberg’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic and theoretical views of Man and the World.

 

 

Uncommon types


Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-mnomenclatures are not as universally accepted):


An etaphor is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for virtue.


An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.


A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.


A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.


A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel


An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder—A British TV series.)


An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.


An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.


An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-sick person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.


A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.


A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.


A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

 

SIMILE

 

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as.


Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech: eg


"Curley was flopping like a fish on a line." - John Steinbeck

 


A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit: eg


He fights like a lion.

In contrast, the following simile explicitly state the features that are predicated of each target: eg

He was as a lion in the fight.

Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features. Similes are preferred if a user wants to associate an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary property with a target. Examples:

Stereotypes

as proud as a peacock


Irony


as fast as a three-legged cheetah



Without 'like' or 'as'


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

 

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. These alterations result in figures of speech.


Details and examples


In traditional analysis, words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage, while the words in figurative expressions connote—they add layers of meaning. To convert an utterance into meaning, the human mind requires a cognitive framework, made up of

 

 

memories of all the possible meanings that might be available to apply to the particular words in their context. This set of memories will give prominence to the most common or literal meanings, but also suggest reasons for attributing different meanings, e.g., the reader understands that the author intended it to mean something different.


For example, the sentence, "The Ground is thirsty", is partly figurative. "Ground" has a literal meaning, but the ground is not alive and therefore neither needs to drink nor feels thirst. Readers immediately reject a literal interpretation and confidently interpret the words to mean "The ground is dry," an analogy to the condition that would trigger thirst in an animal.

 

However, the statement, "When I first saw her, my soul began to quiver," is harder to interpret. It could describe infatuation, panic, or something else entirely. The context a person requires to interpret this statement is familiarity with the speaker's feelings. Other people can give a few words a provisional set of meanings, but cannot understand the figurative utterance until acquiring more information.

 

A synopsis of the Downloaded lecture notes from:

http: teachingresource.wikispaces.com/

 

 Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.


OVERVIEW

 

In grammar, a phrase is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. Most phrases have a central word defining the type of phrase. This word is called the head of the phrase. Some phrases, however, can be headless. For example, the rich is a noun phrase composed of a determiner and an adjective without a noun.

 

IDIOMS

An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate to the literal or definition of the words of which it is made.

ANALOGIES

An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them.

    

METAPHOR

A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor.


The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards, reports that metaphor is in two parts:

the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the "all the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7


In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.


A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile, and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

 


allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject


catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)


parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson.


Common types


A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed.


An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.


A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first.


Per Hans Blumenberg’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic and theoretical views of Man and the World.

 

 

Uncommon types


Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-mnomenclatures are not as universally accepted):


An etaphor is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for virtue.


An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.


A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.


A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.


A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel


An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder—A British TV series.)


An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.


An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.


An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-sick person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.


A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.


A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.


A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

 

SIMILE

 

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as.


Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech: eg


"Curley was flopping like a fish on a line." - John Steinbeck

 


A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit: eg


He fights like a lion.

In contrast, the following simile explicitly state the features that are predicated of each target: eg

He was as a lion in the fight.

Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features. Similes are preferred if a user wants to associate an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary property with a target. Examples:

Stereotypes

as proud as a peacock


Irony


as fast as a three-legged cheetah



Without 'like' or 'as'


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

 

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. These alterations result in figures of speech.


Details and examples


In traditional analysis, words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage, while the words in figurative expressions connote—they add layers of meaning. To convert an utterance into meaning, the human mind requires a cognitive framework, made up of

 

 

memories of all the possible meanings that might be available to apply to the particular words in their context. This set of memories will give prominence to the most common or literal meanings, but also suggest reasons for attributing different meanings, e.g., the reader understands that the author intended it to mean something different.


For example, the sentence, "The Ground is thirsty", is partly figurative. "Ground" has a literal meaning, but the ground is not alive and therefore neither needs to drink nor feels thirst. Readers immediately reject a literal interpretation and confidently interpret the words to mean "The ground is dry," an analogy to the condition that would trigger thirst in an animal.

 

However, the statement, "When I first saw her, my soul began to quiver," is harder to interpret. It could describe infatuation, panic, or something else entirely. The context a person requires to interpret this statement is familiarity with the speaker's feelings. Other people can give a few words a provisional set of meanings, but cannot understand the figurative utterance until acquiring more information.

 

A synopsis of the Downloaded lecture notes from:

http: teachingresource.wikispaces.com/

 

 Analyze idioms, analogies, metaphors, and similes to infer the literal and figurative meanings of phrases.


OVERVIEW

 

In grammar, a phrase is a group of words functioning as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. Most phrases have a central word defining the type of phrase. This word is called the head of the phrase. Some phrases, however, can be headless. For example, the rich is a noun phrase composed of a determiner and an adjective without a noun.

 

IDIOMS

An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is comprehended in regard to a common use of that expression that is separate to the literal or definition of the words of which it is made.

ANALOGIES

An analogy can be a spoken or textual comparison between two words (or sets of words) to highlight some form of semantic similarity between them.

    

METAPHOR

A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor.


The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards, reports that metaphor is in two parts:

the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the "all the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:


All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7


In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.


A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy, parable, simile, and synecdoche, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

 


allegory: An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject


catachresis: A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)


parable: An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson.


Common types


A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed.


An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.


A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first.


Per Hans Blumenberg’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic and theoretical views of Man and the World.

 

 

Uncommon types


Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-mnomenclatures are not as universally accepted):


An etaphor is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for virtue.


An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.


A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.


A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.


A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché. Example: Achilles' heel


An epic metaphor or Homeric simile is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder—A British TV series.)


An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example: "Shut your trap!" Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.


An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.


An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-sick person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.


A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example: "Cool it". In this example, the vehicle, "Cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.


A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implied, or indicated by one aspect. Example: "my winged thought". Here, the audience must supply the image of the bird.


A synecdochic metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

 

SIMILE

 

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without using "like" or "as.


Similes have been widely used in literature for their expressiveness as a figure of speech: eg


"Curley was flopping like a fish on a line." - John Steinbeck

 


A simile can explicitly provide the basis of a comparison or leave this basis implicit: eg


He fights like a lion.

In contrast, the following simile explicitly state the features that are predicated of each target: eg

He was as a lion in the fight.

Unlike a metaphor, a simile can be as precise as the user needs it to be, to explicitly predicate a single feature of a target or to vaguely predicate an under-determined and open-ended body of features. Similes are preferred if a user wants to associate an unusual or out-of-the-ordinary property with a target. Examples:

Stereotypes

as proud as a peacock


Irony


as fast as a three-legged cheetah



Without 'like' or 'as'


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:" - William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

 

LITERAL AND FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. These alterations result in figures of speech.


Details and examples


In traditional analysis, words in literal expressions denote what they mean according to common or dictionary usage, while the words in figurative expressions connote—they add layers of meaning. To convert an utterance into meaning, the human mind requires a cognitive framework, made up of

 

 

memories of all the possible meanings that might be available to apply to the particular words in their context. This set of memories will give prominence to the most common or literal meanings, but also suggest reasons for attributing different meanings, e.g., the reader understands that the author intended it to mean something different.


For example, the sentence, "The Ground is thirsty", is partly figurative. "Ground" has a literal meaning, but the ground is not alive and therefore neither needs to drink nor feels thirst. Readers immediately reject a literal interpretation and confidently interpret the words to mean "The ground is dry," an analogy to the condition that would trigger thirst in an animal.

 

However, the statement, "When I first saw her, my soul began to quiver," is harder to interpret. It could describe infatuation, panic, or something else entirely. The context a person requires to interpret this statement is familiarity with the speaker's feelings. Other people can give a few words a provisional set of meanings, but cannot understand the figurative utterance until acquiring more information.

 

A synopsis of the Downloaded lecture notes from:

http: teachingresource.wikispaces.com/

 

 


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