Can I add an funky comment at the end to the effect that today in Greece, the large lorries with "Metafora" written on the side belong to moving companies? i love wikipedia...its hot
Neither Stevie Wonder nor Elton John coined the phrases with which they were credited. I also tried to standardize the examples in the form of "figure given" = "thing meant." Rewrote "ship of state" example. Jstanley01
The expression "(something) is like pulling hen's teeth" is factually incorrect. The correct expression was coined during the days when people lived on farms and were more familiar with hens that were still alive and wearing feathers. The correct expression is that "(something) is as rare as hens' teeth." The force of this quaint simile derives from the fact that hens have no teeth. Jstanley01
The first sentence read:
"Broadly speaking, all figurative language can be called metaphorical"
Certainly, all figurative language "can be called metaphorical." The question is, should all of it be called metaphorical. In point of fact, this statement is not true, and here is an example for you, alliteration is no figure new, but calling it "metaphorical" will not do (Hey, don't I know it! I ain't no gosh darn poet! ���)
Other not-at-all-metaphorical figures include Polyptoton, Asyndeton, Antanaclasis, Pleonasm, Hyperbole, Parembole, and perhaps even Heterosis, Antimereia, Antiptosis, Hypallage, and Hediadys. And how "metaphorical" figures such as Synecdoche and Metonymy may be is debatable.
I've rearranged things a bit, and replaced this sentence with:
"There are broad categories of figurative language which are classified as metaphorical"
From the article:
- Those interested in further exploration might consider Julian Jaynes, "The Origins of Consciousness and the Bicameral Mind."
Oh no, they shouldn't.
The line about metaphor being "dangerous to understanding" seems a bit off to me -- at least not NPOV. Metaphor is at the root (both etymologically and literally) of understanding, IMHO. What do other people think? I didn't want to remove something without any concensus or discussion -- perhaps we could rephrase?
- Well, there are some people who think we should never use the word is because it implies that one thing can be identical to another.
- That said, the point here seems to have been carefully made. All figures of speech are falsifications at some level and the questioned sentence underlines that. If I say that the universe is a balloon being constantly inflated, that all the points on it keep their relative positions while the whole is being vastly expanded, how can I stop someone from thinking that the universe might pop someday? Ortolan88
- Well, it might pop... ;-) I'm with User:Thomas Mills Hinkle on this one: metaphors are a very important part of language. (BTW, you can sign your name on these pages with a sequence of 3 "~" characters). Whether the mistake of taking a metaphor literally is the fault of the listener or the speaker would be an interesting debate. Other European languages tend to use metaphor much more in everyday speech -- I've often noticed that speakers of French and Italian use more metaphorical expressions even when speaking in English. -- Tarquin
Yes, metaphors are basic to much understanding, but most basic to all understanding via language is the much-maligned concept of literality. When I point at something and tell a two-year-old "that is a car," I don't mean that the word "car" is identical with what I am pointing at. Rather, I am educating the two-year-old about the word the English language uses to symbolize the thing I am pointing at. Mark my words, developmental psychology, one of these days, is going to kick revisionist linguistics right in its arse. Jstanley01
For now, I've removed this from the article:
- Metaphor literally means to bring across, to transfer attributes of one thing to another.
As a claim about "literal meaning" (a very debatable notion, which should probably be avoided in the first paragraph), I think this is complete hogwash. It may be plausible as a claim about the word's etymology, but, if so, it must be stated as such, ideally indicating the languages from which it is derived. I'm not sure this makes for an accurate etymological claim either, however; I just checked the OED, and though does list "to transfer" as the meaning of one of the Greek verbs that "metaphor" originated from, it does not mention transferring "across", nor does it specify that "attributes" are what are to be transfered. If anyone is comfortable with etymological issues, I'd love to get something like this put back into the article. --Ryguasu 07:16 Dec 23, 2002 (UTC)
- Well, the OED and Webster's Third simply say that metaphor is from a Greek word meaning "transfer". Origins by Eric Partridge says the two components mean "carry beyond" and Skeat's Dictionary of English Etymology says the two components mean "change" and "bear". Fowler's Concise Oxford Dictionary says meta means "with, after, with implication of 'change'". I would write something like this:
- BTW, I think it was likely I who originally wrote metaphor was to "bring across." I'm guessing this came from the "transfer" meaning -- transfer coming from bringing (fer) across (trans). Tom
- Hearing no objection, I will put this in the article.
- The whole bit about metaphors being false, etc., while perhaps philosophically true, is linguistically meaningless, as many, many etymologies reveal that common words are indeed figures of speech in their origin, as with metaphor itself. For the consideration of the rabble, the word consideration comes from words meaning "with the stars", and rabble means "to make a noise". Ortolan88
Just because the meanings of words evolve does not erase the difference between the literal and the figurative in the way human beings use language. An original metaphor makes an unexpected and fresh connection, perhaps a connection never seen before, by playing the literal understanding of something off against something else that must be understood, not literally, but figuratively, thereby giving new insight into the literal.
If the once-original metaphor then becomes so ubiquitous that, by common usage, it becomes a word in its own right, with the formerly-figurative meaning now being attributed as literal -- well, that's one of the ways languages develop. It happens a lot. That's why "many, many etymologies reveal that common words are indeed figures of speech in their origin." Usages change. Languages evolve. Fresh insights become so appropos in so many ways, that they come to be thought of as literal. The example in the article of the word "understanding" is a case in point. I doubt, however, that "sunshine" will ever be redefined as "girlfriend." Jstanley01
I'm removing the following, rather empty editorial remark:
- As a subject, metaphor is as complex and deep as one likes.
Also, I've rephrased this passage
- In metaphor, one thing is treated as if it were another, "Life is but a dream". By contrast, a simile compares one thing to another, "Getting money from him is like pulling hen's teeth".
I think the implication that metaphors are never "comparisons" is faulty. I don't know if the opposite claim that metaphors are always comparisons is perfect either, though.
--Ryguasu 07:52 Feb 24, 2003 (UTC)
- A metaphor is an assertion of similarity predicated on difference, as such I would say it is always a comparison. If one this is (mis)taken for another then that is not a metaphor. Hyacinth 01:13, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- "A metaphor is an assertion of similarity predicated on difference..." INTERESTING!
- Metaphors definitely make comparisons. Remember, metaphor is a figure of speech. Hence, by definition, no metaphor is meant to be taken literally. Metaphor is a rhetorical device which is purposefully counter-to-fact in order to draw a comparison between disparate things in the reader or listener's mind.
- SIMILE: "He eats like a dog."
- METAPHOR: "He is a dog, the way he eats."
- HYPOCATASTASIS: "Look at the dog eat."
- Technically speaking, simile makes a comparison by resemblance, metaphor makes a comparison by (counter-to-fact) representation, and hypocatastasis makes a comparison by (counter-to-fact) identification. Jstanley01 02:48, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the tips (and changes) on style. RKeller
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