Figurative Language Versus Literal Language Essay

1197 Words Jul 11th, 2016 5 Pages
Figurative Language versus Literal Language

Angelle Dent

Professor Carrie Prettiman
January 20, 2012

The purpose of this paper is to explore the meaning and functionalities associated with figurative language versus literal language. Traditionally, figurative language, such as metaphors and idioms, have been considered derivatives from and more complex than ostensibly straightforward language. “A contemporary view is that figurative language involves the same kinds of linguistic and pragmatic operations that are used for ordinary, literal language” (Glucksberg, 1975). Figurative language is language that uses words and or expressions with a meaning that is different or a variation from the literal
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It is also a comparison between two different things in order to highlight some point of similarity. For example, to explain a parallel feeling that someone must be pretty annoying to you, you may state “you are as annoying as nails on a chalkboard.” Some analogies will be understood by most people that speak the same language. Within small social groups of people, there are often shared analogies that bind the group together. On the other hand, there are analogies which are only understood by people living in a certain region or country.

Metaphor: the word metaphor was defined as a novel or poetic linguistic expression where one or more words for a concept are used outside of its normal conventional meaning to express a similar concept (Gibbs, 1994). For example, if you say, “you are the wind beneath my wings” you are not saying that a person can actually be wind. Instead, you are referring to the support you get from that person. Another example would be when one seeks to describe their feelings of admiration for a person by stating “he is a diamond in the rough” or “he is the sunshine of my life.” Metaphors can be humorous while still getting the point across.

Simile: A simile is where two things are compared. A simile compares two things using the words “as” or “like.” within the expression. An example of a simile would be “you are as stubborn as a mule” which means to convey the fact that a person is being very

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