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Metaphor

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Metaphor

Postby Apoclima » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:12 am

I found this very interesting article on metaphor and language and I thought that it might be interesting to others too.

Metaphor: How We Speak

The study of metaphor presents a number of obvious problems: how to determine its truth value (literally, metaphors are almost always false) and how to recognize an expression as a metaphor (metaphors have no consistent syntactic form).


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Metaphors

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Feb 11, 2005 9:08 am

The definition is only slightly off: metaphors are not completely true but they are partially. For example, if I call someone a pig, I don't mean that they have a wet snout, a curly tail, and a tempting haunch, but only that they eat too much. In other words, a metaphor is the use of a word implying only one feature of its meaning.

Metaphors have no consistent syntactic form because they are not a part of grammar as, say, plural, past tense, participial phrases are. They follow principles of usage, i.e. how we use grammar in speaking. The metaphor I suggested above is missing a word "like", i.e. You are like a pig (in one way).

If everyone uses a metaphor, it becomes a cliche, as is "You are a pig".

Any way, it is a good suggestion, so we'll put it on the list. It will probably come up in March since the list is already pretty long.
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Postby Apoclima » Fri Feb 11, 2005 3:37 pm

Sorry, Doc! I didn't mean that to be a definition of the word "metaphor," I was just quoting from the article. I should have used more quotes, but perhaps you missed the word "literally." Sure, a metaphor is used because part of it applies, but that certainly does not mean that the metaphor is literally true (an obvious point, but you know how philosophers like to define their terms very explicitly).

In literal language, two concepts can be combined to obtain another concept without changing the original concepts (e.g., "good" and "marriage" form "good marriage"). In metaphorical language, two concepts are combined so that they form a new concept (e.g., marriage as a nightmare) and additionally they change each other (both "marriage" and "nightmare" acquire a different meaning, one reflecting the nightmarish aspects of marriage and the other one reflecting the marriage-like quality of a nightmare). They trade meaning. Predications that are normally applied to one are now also possible on the other, and viceversa. A metaphor consists in a transaction between two concepts. The interpretation of both concepts is altered.



Metaphor: How We Speak

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Re: Metaphors

Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:27 am

Dr. Goodword wrote:...
The metaphor I suggested above is missing a word "like", i.e. You are like a pig (in one way).

If everyone uses a metaphor, it becomes a cliche, as is "You are a pig".
...

We used to subsume similes under metaphors as that subgroup that made their comparisons with the use of «like» or «as». I sincerely hope, in any event, that metaphors of the type «you are a pig» have not become cliches ! Forty years on, I remember a young lady who worked as a secretary in a school in which I taught in Japan, who, while accompanying me to the train station, giggled and said «Day-san wa, kao ga pigu no iro desu, ne !» (You know, your facial colour is that of a pig !) An example of Asia's revenge on the «White» - or more accurately, Pinko-grey - man ! Alas, I was ungallant enough to reply that she, eight months pregnant as she was, «pigu no katachi desu, ne !» (And you its shape !) But despite this mishap,we became good friends....

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insults?

Postby KatyBr » Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:34 pm

She sounds like an extroidanarily forgiving person. One wonders what prompted her original remark.
Whatever, I'm glad you are now on better terms!

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:58 pm

It is also intriguing that metaphor seems to violate so blatantly Grice's conversational rules: if the speaker tries to make communication as "rational" as possible, why would she construct a metaphor instead of just being literal? The answer lies in the true nature of metaphor.

Reverse sexism?

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Postby Flaminius » Sat Feb 19, 2005 10:28 pm

Juss tellin' it's ok to be a women in a written sentence.

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