Figurative Language Versus Literal Language”

1 January 2017

Here are a few of those choices. An idiom is a phrase that when spoken outside of a particular culture it seems incomprehensible. This peculiar use of phrases is not taken literally but is understood by members of that culture. A phrase such as “jump the shark. ” is an idiom. It doesn’t mean to literally jump the shark, it means when a show or radio program has reached the impending inevitable end. Using this term is appropriate when others understand the terms meaning. It would be inappropriate to use idioms in cultures where the meanings of the words are challenging and hard to understand.

Analogies use comparison to highlight similarities between two or more things. They are often using to clarify issues. Here’s an example of an analogy Hot is to Summer as cold is to winter or the famous Forest Gump analogy says “life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get. ” That’s the function of the Analogy; it is drawing a comparison in order to show similarity in some respect. Analogies are a good way to help get your point across. But if the analogy is unclear, it hinders instead of helps. Take two unlike things, compare them and show that the have something in common and you have a metaphor.

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According to Thinking, “A metaphor carries another meaning with the original or carries the original meanings beyond into a new meaning. “ Ride to live and live to ride is an example of a metaphor. Use metaphors that are accepted within a society, to create a metaphor and it not be accepted by the society as an understandable and approved phrase would cause confusion and your point would not be understood. Compare two nouns that are unlike, introduce it with “like or as” and you have a simile. Writers often use similes to make descriptions more emphatic, vivid or to make use of irony or sarcasm. You are as cold as ice” or “they fought like cats and dogs,” are examples of similes’. Many similes are overused and betray a lack of original thought. Be sure to carefully use well known similes. Understanding when and how to use a simile will help to understand the language and writings that contains them. A cliche is a figure of speech whose effectiveness has been worn out through overuse and excessive familiarity. A cliche is a sign that we are not doing our own thinking. (Kirby 2007) In their original formulation, the thinking behind cliches was brilliant, but time and repetition have worn them into dull emptiness. Kirby 2007) Cliches can be used to express an idea, however they should be avoided or restated to avoid sounding trite. “What goes around comes around,” is an example of a cliche. In the book, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, amphiboly is described as conflicting and ambiguous usage of a term. (Stearns 1968) Amphiboly can cause confusion and hence puts the other person into a state where they are open to different ideas. Some writers use it deliberately while others use it accidently. When it is deliberate, it may be used to confuse or make subconscious suggestions.

This is particularly effective where the second meaning of the sentence may take a few moments to sink in. A common form of amphiboly is where an adjective is used with two noun, for example “young men and women. ” Does the adjective young apply to the second noun or only to the first? That’s the question amphiboly leaves to the imagination. Flame words are words that have enormous power to excite our emotions. (Kirby 2007) These words often carry an argumentative tone that causes the listener to react emotionally. These flame words are often vulgar terms or racially charged.

It is never good to use these words when speaking about an individual or group. Calling Law Enforcement officers “pigs” is considered a flame word. Hyperbole is simply a figure of speech that exaggerates. It is often used in our culture to emphasize or express the importance of what happen when telling information. “ I nearly died laughing,” or “ I will wait an eternity” are examples of a hyperbole. The thesaurus defines euphemism this way; an inoffensive or indirect expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive or too harsh. “Collateral Damage,” “Cougar” and “Kicking the bucket” are all euphemisms.

Euphemisms may be used to hide unpleasant or disturbing ideas, even when the literal term for them is not necessarily offensive. This type of euphemism is used in public relations and politics where the information changes the context of information A colloquialism can be called a slang term, although it isn’t necessarily slang in a negative sense. It often isn’t rude to utter a colloquialism and may be specific to a region, or fall into popular style based on a variety of factors. One such example is the phrase “What’s up? ” In stead of saying “Hello,” or how are you,” many individuals simply say what’s up.

That colloquial phrase is understood. However you wouldn’t start a business letter or go to an interview and use that phrase. Part of the problem with a colloquialism like “What’s up,” is that it is very vague, and its informality wouldn’t be suited to most formal writing. So use the terms in everyday speech but never in a business or formal setting. There are plenty of opportunities throughout our daily lives to call upon a number of these phrases. If you have ever read a billboard, or article or even a poster that uses these phrases inappropriately and you realized it; then you understood what was intended to be stated.

That’s the problem at times with English and communicating. The vocabulary is huge and flexible that the words sometimes get twisted either from the writer’s pen, speaker’s words or our ears. The use of these phrases helps to make points, add humor and even cause others to think. The person that initiates the conversation must be careful in the way the words are arranged and communicated; while the listener must call upon listening skills, word meanings and their vocabulary to ensure understanding. Either way, effective requires communication requires word choice and correct usage from the speaker and understanding from the listener.

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