Metaphor in its Broad Perspective

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Metaphor in its Broad Perspective

Course paper

presented by

a 4th-year student

Lyubov Dorosh

Supervised by

Kozhyna V.I. ,

Teacher of English

L’viv — 2010

Table of Contents


Main Body

1. Definition of Metaphor as a Figurative and Expressive Means of Language

2. Types of Metaphor

3. The Mechanism of Metaphor Formation

4. The Difference Between Metaphor and Simile

5. Metaphor in Literature and Language


List of References


The theme of the given course essay is «Metaphor in its Broad Perspective»

The aim of the investigation is to ascertain the main types of metaphor its formation and usage.

The tasks of the course paper are the following:

1) to study the origin of metaphor;

2) to compare the definition of metaphor represented by different scientists;

3) to distinguish the main types of metaphor;

4) to highlight the mechanism of metaphor formation;

5) to clarify the difference between metaphor and simile;

6) to provide examples of metaphor in language and literature.

The material of investigation.

For the material of investigation served essays and works of different scholars, encyclopedias, as well as various dictionaries.

The following methods of analysis were employed in the given investigation:

1) the method of overall selection and analysis of the material;

2) comparative analysis.

The structure of the course essay.

In the Introduction the brief summary of the Main Body is presented.

The given course essay consists of the Introduction, Main Body, Conclusions and List of References.

Metaphor is a stylistic device which is widely used not only by artists but as well by all those who are concerned with making their speech or piece of wrighting more impressive, remarkable and by no means unique. It is neither the invention of modern age nor of the recent centuries. It takes root in the Ancient Greece. As a matter of fact that ancient period it is thought to be the launch of its study, development and flourishing.

Originally, metaphor was a Greek word meaning «transfer». The Greek etymology is from meta, implying «a change» and pherein meaning «to bear, or carry». Thus, the word metaphor itself has a metaphorical meaning in English, «a transfer of meaning from one thing to another».

There are broad categories of figurative language which are classified as metaphorical. The more common meaning of metaphor is a figure of speech that is used to paint one concept with the attributes normally associated with another.

Metaphor is present in written language back to the earliest surviving writings. From the Epic of Gilgamesh:

My friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain, panther of the wilderness, after we joined together and went up into the mountain, fought the Bull of Heaven and killed it, and overwhelmed Humbaba, who lived in the Cedar Forest, now what is this sleep that has seized you? [1; 6]

In this example, the friend is compared to a mule, a wild ass, and a panther to indicate that the speaker sees traits from these animals in his friend.

Even before this example, it is arguable that the stylized cave paintings in the Chauvet-pont-d'arc caves in southern France are a form of visual metaphor. Their highly stylized animal shapes evoke hierarchical relationships and human connections that are not part of the literal depiction.

The first writers to discuss metaphor were the Greek philsophers.

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learned from others; it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an eye for resemblance [23; 14].

While this might arguably be an exaggeration, there is evidence that fundamental aspects of human intelligence, pattern recognition and inference drive the human use of metaphor.

Good speakers as well as skilled writers have a way of using metaphors for several reasons:

1) metaphors can help readers or listeners to better understand something about the object or idea to which the metaphor is being applied;

2)metaphors can make speaking and writing more lively and interesting;

3) metaphors can communicate a great deal of meaning with just a word or a phrase;

4) metaphors, because they imply rather than directly state relationships, can get listeners and readers to think about what they are hearing or reading.

Paragraph 1 deals with the etymology and the notion of metaphor.

Paragraph 2 is about the main types of metaphor.

Paragraph 3 provides information about the mechanism of metaphor formation.

Paragraph 4 shows the the difference between metaphor and simile.

Paragraph 5 deals with metaphor in literature and language.

In Conclusions the most important results of the overall analysis are presented.

1. Definition of Metaphor as a Figurative and Expressive Means of Language

In times of classical antiquity, when scientists only stood at the origins of the study of metaphor and knowledge of it were quite superficial, it figuratively — expressive means of language were seen as a reduction in the comparison, that is comparison of which excluded the predicates of similarity, such as «like», comparative phrases, like «if», «exact», «how» and «as if «. Thus the main comparison, their motivations, the circumstances of time and space and other modifiers are eliminated [15; 81]. The term metaphor (Ь from the Greek: metapherin- transfer) was introduced by Aristotle, metaphor was a Greek word meaning «transfer». The Greek etymology is from meta, implying «a change» and pherein meaning «to bear, or carry». In modern Greek the word metaphor also means transport or transfer. Aristotle linked this concept with the understanding of art as imitation of life.

The metaphor of Aristotle, in fact, is almost indistinguishable from the hyperbole-exaggeration of synecdoche, allegory, from a simple comparison and impersonation. In all cases, the transfer of meaning from one to another. Thus, according to the definition of Aristotle, a metaphor — nothing but «the transfer of the name or type in appearance, or type in the genus or species to species, or similar. «Lay down a good metaphor — it means to notice the similarities in the nature» [14; 18]. In language, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope defined as a direct comparison between two seemingly unrelated subjects. In a metaphor, a first object is described as being or precisely equal to a second object. Thus, the first object can be economically described because implicit and explicit attributes from the second object are used to enhance the description of the first. This device is exploited in literature and especially in poetry, where with few words, emotions and associations from one context can powerfully be associated with another, different subject [5; 56].

In cognitive linguistics, metaphor is often seen as a basic cognitive function, that humans naturally see common traits in subjects which are factually distinct, and such behaviour may be required for comprehension and learning. Termed a conceptual metaphor, this trait is exploited in psychotherapy using a therapeutic metaphor where stories unrelated to the patient are used to teach lessons about the patient’s situation. Though the word metaphor in linguistic or cognitive areas are analogies, such use falls outside the literary definition of metaphor.

A metaphor is, commonly, a figure of speech used to paint one concept with the attributes normally associated with another. Literal and figurative language contains several broad categories of figurative speech which are classified as metaphorical.

Generally, a metaphor is defined as a way of speaking in which one thing is expressed in terms of another, whereby this bringing together throws new light on the character of what is being described [4; 77].

Also, the most typical is the definition based on the contrast and comparison of metaphors: «metaphor a — kind of a trope, in which individual words or expressions converge on the similarity of their values, or by contrast, represents a dismembered comparison, in which, however, easily seen both terms. Customary as a rule the trope is formed by the principle of personification (water running), reification (nerves of steel) and so on. Also the role of metaphor can serve all parts of speech (verb, noun, adjective)[1; 18]. In the opinion of V. Arnold, «a metaphor is implicit comparison that is made by using the name of one object to another and thus tapping some important feature of the second» [2; 24]. In this definition, the emphasis is on the mainstreaming of one or more signs of metaphor.

One simple definition is that a metaphor is the understanding of one concept in terms of another, preferably when there is some similarity or correlation between the two concepts. For example, consider the sentence:

When Clair called the angry policeman a `twit' it just added fuel to the fire [25; 65].

This employs a straightforward metaphor that compares a raging fire to the policeman’s anger. The point is to gain a feeling for the degree of anger by comparing it to the known behaviour of a fire that has had fuel thrown upon it (the fire flares up, as does the policeman’s anger).

The metaphor that compares someone’s anger to a raging fire is so commonplace as to be a cliche. For it to work, the image of a fire flaring when fuel is added to it must have a meaning.

Another vivid example of the usage of metaphor is presented bellow:

Then, when he could throw it straight and hard, he taught himself to throw a knuckleball, a slow pitch that travels without spinning, and makes its way toward the hitter like a butterfly over a bed of flowers, fluttering [25; 67].

This is a nice, graceful metaphor that provides a mental picture of something one could pretty much picture without the metaphor (the knuckleball) by comparing it to a butterfly. But the metaphoric description enriches the experience. It is supposed that one can visualize the pitch as author has described it, and it is presumed that you have never thought of it as a butterfly before.

A metaphor, according to I. A. Richards, consists of two parts: the tenor and vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. If I say 'you are a dog', then you are the tenor. If I say 'It's a dog day', then the tenor is the day.

The vehicle is the subject from which the attributes are borrowed, is both the words and concepts that are invoked by the words.

Connecting verb. The tenor and the vehicle are generally connected by a verb that somehow equates them. The verb 'to be' is by far the most common verb used, as it effectively says «the tenor is the vehicle».

Dimension. The vehicle has a number of dimensions, attributes or variables which may be mapped or transferred back onto the tenor and hence create new meaning.






Separated, idyllic



Trade, interchange



Safety, familiarity

To persuade

To plant

to put in, to nuture


A thing

Can be examined, grasped



Energy, danger



Unchanged, original



Position of power

[26; 99]

The efficient usage of metaphor not only enriches the piece of writing, but if author makes the best use of his metaphor it can easily become a quotation. Instance of this phenomenon can be found in one of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players

They have their exits and their entrances…[27; 17]

This well known quote serves as a good example of metaphor. In this example, «the world» is compared to a stage, the aim is to describe the world by taking well known attributes from the stage. Generally the world is not compared with a stage, one can imagine it as the earth, the mother; but not a stage. That is why it is nothing but metaphor. Because it has brought together two entirely unrelated things and made sense with it. In this case, the world is the tenor and the stage is the vehicle. «Men and women» are a secondary tenor and «players» is the vehicle for this secondary tenor.

The metaphor is sometimes further analysed in terms of the ground and the tension. The ground consists of the similarities between the tenor and the vehicle. The tension of the metaphor consists of the dissimilarities between the tenor and the vehicle. In the above example, the ground begins to be elucidated from the third line: «They have their exits and entrances». In the play, Shakespeare continues this metaphor for another twenty lines beyond what is shown here — making it a good example of an extended metaphor [25; 106]. The corresponding terms to 'tenor' and 'vehicle' in George Lakoff’s terminology are target and source. In this nomenclature, metaphors are named using the convention «target IS source», with the word «is» always capitalized; in this notation, the metaphor discussed above would state that «humankind IS theater» [24; 45].

2. Types of Metaphor

This paragraph deals with the types of metaphor and the full and complete information on this matter is provided. Metaphor can be classified in a range of different ways, based on various criteria. As for the types of metaphor scientist came to agreement to divide it into two groups: common and uncommon. Each group consists of subtypes.

Common Metaphors:

An extended metaphor is one that sets up a principal subject with several subsidiary subjects or comparisons.

All the world’s a stage… [27; 17]

The above quote by no means is a good example of this type of metaphor. The world is described as a stage and then men and women are subsidiary subjects that are further described in the same context.

A mixed metaphor is one that leaps, in the course of a figure, to a second identification inconsistent with the first one. Example: «Clinton stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horn». Here, baseball and the activities of a cowboy are implied. Other examples include: «That wet blanket is a loose cannon»; «Strike while the iron is in the fire»; or (said by an administrator whose government-department's budget was slashed) «Now we can just kiss that program right down the drain».

A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is not present. Example: «to grasp a concept» or «to gather you’ve understood.» Both of these phrases use a physical action as a metaphor for understanding (itself a metaphor), but in none of these cases do most speakers of English actually visualize the physical action. Dead metaphors, by definition, normally go unnoticed. Some people make a distinction between a «dead metaphor» whose origin most speakers are entirely unaware of (such as «to understand» meaning to get underneath a concept), and a dormant metaphor, whose metaphorical character people are aware of but rarely think about (such as «to break the ice»). Others, however, use dead metaphor for both of these concepts, and use it more generally as a way of describing metaphorical cliche.

Other types of metaphor have been identified as well, though the nomenclatures are not as universally accepted:

An absolute metaphor or paralogical metaphor is one in which there is no ground. In other words, the vehicle and the tenor seem to have nothing in common. For example: «The duck is an onion. «

So what is the point of an absolute metaphor? Good question. Without a common ground of comparison, this kind of metaphor is unlikely to provide readers with the «Aha!» experience. You could almost say it isn’t really a metaphor at all.

If it is a metaphor, which is in doubt, it is a far out metaphor. The absolute metaphor is not making an obvious comparison. Indeed, there is no apparent connection between the things being compared. Which is just another way of saying that there is no common ground between the vehicle and the tenor.

Without this common ground, it only makes sense to use an absolute metaphor in a poetic way. At best, an absolute metaphor that resonates with some readers may feel like a non-sequitor, or just plain goofy, to other readers [16; 67].

Uncommon Metaphors:

An active metaphor is one that is not commonly used, and has therefore not become a cliche. An active metaphor is sometimes also called a live metaphor.

A metaphor has become a cliche because it is apt, and useful; therefore, over time, much used.

It’s hard to avoid cliches when creating metaphors. Sometimes it is even good to use a clichйd metaphor because your readers will know exactly what you mean.

A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: «That throws some light on the question.» Throwing light is a metaphor and there is no actual light.

A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Example: «He has the wild stag’s foot.» This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring [5; 23].

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.

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 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 root metaphor is the underlying association that shapes an individual’s understanding of a situation. Examples would be understanding life as a dangerous journey, seeing life as a hard test, or thinking of life as a good party. A root metaphor is different from the previous types of metaphor in that it is not necessarily an explicit device in language, but a fundamental, often unconscious, assumption.

Religion is considered the most common source of root metaphors, since birth, marriage, death and other universal life experiences can convey a very different meaning to different people, based on their level or type of religious adherence. For example, some religions see life as a single arrow pointing toward a future endpoint. Others see it as part of an endlessly repeating cycle. An individual’s political affiliations are another source of root metaphors. In the United States, both conservatives and liberals assume that the nation is a family. However, as George Lakoff has shown, in Moral Politics, they have very different ideas about what a family is and how it should function. Conservatives believe in a «strict father» type of family, and liberals see the family as a nurturing and educating social institution [10; 56].

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 ok since they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and are used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Example: Achilles' heel.

A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implicit. The reader deduces the nature of the vehicle from some aspect of the description of the tenor. For example, «my winged thought» is a submerged metaphor comparing my thought to a bird [3; 512].

The category of metaphor can be further considered to contain the following specialized subsets:

1) allegory: An extended metaphor in which a story is told to illustrate an important attribute of the subject

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

3) parable: An extended metaphor told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson [5; 69].

Regardless of the types of metaphors one prefares or likes the most, Aristotle’s observation 2,500 years ago in Rhetoric should be kept in mind: «Those words are most pleasant which give us new knowledge. Strange words have no meaning for us; common terms we know already. It is metaphor which gives us most of this pleasure. «

3. The Mechanism of Metaphor Formation

It is significant to say that artists' works are considered to be the sources of new metaphors. They create them and intoduce in their works. Metaphors are writer’s the most important tools for making one’s piece of work deeper and more poignant. As symbolic connectors, metaphors most often link things we can sense with intangible thoughts or concepts. For example, the metaphor, «his mind was a turbulent ocean,» immediately evokes an image in the reader’s mind, with which one can better understand how the subject feels or thinks by linking 'his' state of mind to a swirling, gushing body of water. At the same time, the metaphor above also enables the reader to make diverse conclusions about the subject’s character. A writer could potentially create an infinite number of connotations about this character only if elaborating on this symbolic representation of character’s mind. Oceans can be calm or peaceful, too. They have tides and weather patterns, which can be (and often are) associated with people’s moods.

But not to form a good metaphor the one should follow some steps or so called the mechanism of metaphor formation. It is essential to know it in order to avoid some misconceptions.

The metaphor, not only forms a representation of the object, but also determines the method and way of thinking about it. In other words, the metaphor is not only a means of expression, but also an important tool of thinking, being associated with associative thinking. This idea reflects the statement of Garcia Lorca: «For me, the imagination — a synonym for the ability to discovery. A true daughter of the imagination — metaphor, born of an instant flash of intuition, lit by long anticipation anxiety. Poetic imagination wanders and transforms things, gives them special, especially their sense of connection and identifiers which are not even suspected. «As a proof that metaphor is an instrument of thought and is directly related to the associative activity can lead such an interesting historical fact: as we know, the Chinese writing system directly represents the notion, unlike our own, more practical, based on the principle that mechanical, where each sound corresponds to definite sign. Write or read Chinese — it means to think. Not finding signage for «sorrow» combined the two Chinese ideograms, one of which signified «Autumn», and another — the «heart». Sorrow for the Chinese-autumn heart [6; 136].

Not all sites are easily accessible to thinking, not from everything one can make a separate and clear picture. Therefore, thoughts must turn to easily accessible sites that are received as a starting point, based on the association of making the concept of objects, can reach the most remote areas of the conceptual field. For example, when one say «to the depth (bottom) of the soul» the word «bottom» means a spiritual phenomenon that has nothing to do with space and devoid of physical characteristics such as surface or bottom. In the example provided the word «bottom» is used not in the literal sense despite that the matophor is quite comprihensable, proceeding from the instance above it is obvious that to make up a metaphor indirect meaning produced from direct is required [11; 103]. Metaphor serves as an instrument of thought and cognition. Based on the associative mental activity. Metaphor allows us to isolate difficult to think over abstract objects and give them independence. The human mind is formed in the process of gradually meeting the biological needs of a man. First, he has mastered the surrounding concrete objects. To select from a living organism to psychological components required to make a considerable effort. An example is the long history of forming ideas of «I»: first, saying «my body», «my heart», «my flesh», pronouns like «I» and «you» came much later [11; 142].

Characteristics of a category of objects, which are indicated by a metaphor, are nationally specific. It may belong to the fund of general ideas about the world of native speakers, mythology and traditions. For example, in the Ukrainian language «donkey» in a metaphorical sense, means «stubborn» and in Spanish the word «el burro» (donkey) is called the hard-working man.

Universal relation between subject and object-relation-awareness can comprehend only likening it to a different relationship between objects. As a result of assimilation, metaphor is composed [3; 153].

It has already been explained that the basis for the metaphor is an association. Thus, in the creation of metaphors four components are involved: two categories of objects and properties of each. Metaphor selects the features of one class of objects and attaches them to another class or an individual subject. When a man is called or campared to a fox, he is credited with a sign of tricks, typical for this class of animals and the ability to cover a trails. Thereby, the essence of man is perceived, his image is created as well as a new sense of a word: «fox» becomes a figurative meaning of «smoothie, crafty, sly deceiver.» Endowed with such properties a person can possess a nickname «the fox», «fox», or a name «Foxman,» which reflects the cognitive, nominative, artistic and semanticf function of metaphor.

So then, the process of metaphorisation lies in the comparing of one class of objects or individual properties and actions, specific to another class of objects or related to another object of this class.

There are several common patterns of metaphorisation values:

1. a physical sign of the object is transferred to the person contributing to the isolation and designation of mental personality traits (dull, soft, hard, hard water);

2. signs and actions of humans and animals are transferred to natural phenomena (the principle of anthropogenic and zoomorphism: crying storm, «The weary sun sad farewell to the sea»);

3. an attribute object is converted into an attribute of abstract concepts (deep judgments, empty words);

4. the signs of nature and natural classes of objects carried on the person (light day — light-o'-love, shady place — shady character).

Hence the metaphorisation processes can proceed in the opposite direction: from man to nature and from nature to man, from inanimate objects to animate and the inanimate to the living. In some cases, the transfer is made so regularly that the speaker leaves a sense of the semantic shift that overcomes metaphor [7; 90].

In general, metaphor is developed from more concrete meaning to more abstract. The most obvious metaphoric potency have the following types of predicates:

1) specific adjectives (light, dark, low, high, cold, hot);

2) verbs with the meaning of the mechanical action (run, fall, cut, sew);

3) the predicates characterizing the range objects and thus unequivocally containing the term of comparison (to ripen, fade, melt, flow, to bear fruit) [9; 78].

If to consider the process of metaphorisation deeper, it is necessary to distinguish three main views on its linguistic nature: a metaphor as a way of existence of the meanings of words, as the phenomenon of syntactic semantics, as a way of conveying meaning in a communicative act.

In the first case, the metaphor is regarded as lexicological phenomenon. Accordingly, the representatives of this approach believe that the metaphor is realized in the structure of linguistic meaning of the word.

The second approach focuses on the metaphorical meaning, arising from the interaction of words and phrases in the structure of the proposal, the boundaries of metaphor more broadly it will be considered at the level of syntactic matching of words.

The third approach is the most innovative, examines the imaginative comparison as the mechanism of forming the meaning of the utterance in different functional varieties of speech. For this approach, the metaphor is a functional communicative phenomenon, realized in an utterance or text [13; 56].

Thus, as the followers of the first approach can be attributed G.N. Sklyarovska, who while describing the process of metaphorisation, drew attention to the structure of the lexical meaning of a word that has the metaphorical imagery. While analysing a word its literal meaning and metaphorical meaning is compared. However, this approach can not answer the question about the mechanisms of formation of figurative meaning in different types of speech and, of course, involves only the study of linguistic metaphor. Psychological experiments showed that humans' mind can not just instantly react to the imagery of speech, but also easy to understand these images, which suggests that the metaphor is not reducible to the use of tokens that have metaphorical value [17; 44].

Followers of the second approach, including N. D Arutyunov, M. Black, A. Richards, consider the metaphor as a phenomenon of syntactic semantics. With this approach, the focus of attention is the formation of metaphorical meaning within phrases and sentences. At the heart of the mechanism of metaphor formation they see a categorical shift. Metaphor offers a new distribution of items into categories and then abandon it. The essence of metaphor is a transposition of identifying the (descriptive and semantic, diffuse) vocabulary designed to indicate the object of speech, the scope of predicates, intended to indicate its characteristics and properties.

In the metaphor the distant relationships between concepts are established. Named «interaction theory» [12; 192]. Metaphor has two different subjects -main and auxiliary (A. Richards calls them «tenor» and «vehicle»). According to Black the mechanism of metaphor is that the subject is attached to the main system of associated implications related to the subsidiary subject. N. D Arutyunov sees metaphorisation as the essence of «establishing a permanent trait characterized by the subject [3; 535].» However, as pointed out by B. Shannon — representative of the third approach, «in reality, the metaphorical meaning is a result of the interaction relationships between the elements.» Thus, it becomes evident the need to launch investigations beyond the syntactic structure, as the metaphorical sense, and with its help the reader or listener encounters the speech is much more complicated and is affected much more factors than the two-term metaphorical construction of syntactic semantics. Thus, the third approach can be functional-communicative, which is further subdivided into a pragmatic and cognitive theory. The basic position of the first lies in the fact that the metaphor does not arise in the semantic field of language but in the process of language use in speech. The scope of speech metaphors is not a clause but rather a verbal expression, that is full understanding of metaphor arises only in a specific act of communication (e. g: A mountain road is a snake; A mountain road is a tree-in experiment is a real communicative context can be perceived as metaphor and absurd claim. But in the real context of both examples can function as a metaphor) [9; 194].

Cognitive theory is a prolongation of the pragmatic. At the heart of it lies a provision, according to which in mind, there are deep structural relations between groups of concepts, that allow to structure one concept in terms of others. This is an important theoretical position also supported by the historical study of language (the original anthropomorphic nature of human consciousness, which determined the formation of relations between the concepts of identity that relate to different areas of reality), and psychophysiological studies (a common property of all living creatures represent the external world as the image of its internal state, the ability to model using certain codes of life situations)[11; 150].

It should be noted that in each of these theories, of course, there are disputed issues and questions that remain open. In any case, considering such a many-sided phenomenon as metaphor, it is necessary to take into account all the provisions. Another scientist Telia suggests his theory: he believes that the process of metaphorisation represents a three-term structure: I-R-In, where I is the initial word, the R — resulting word, the In — intermediate (birch-I, flexible-R, girl — In — birch compared with a girl). However, this scheme can not be understood literally, binding it with the dictionary definition of two words. Here it is rather the common associations, emerging on the basis of vague terms, to be operated on the human brain. Not accidentally it was pointed out that there are no mechanical rules, algorithms that allow to switch automatically from direct to the derived value. A T. Vianu (Romanian philosopher) pointed out that «metaphor implies the alternation in the minds of two series of representations: the similarity between the reality signified by their own meaning of the word, and indeed, metaphorically denoted the differences between these two realities» [10; 59].

4. The Difference Between Metaphor and Simile

It has already been concluded that the points of view of modern scholars on metaphor are different, however, most of them adhere to the theory of Aristotle, and therefore rely on the postulate that metaphor is based on the comparison. This position is key for all theories. Comparison of similes and metaphors is commensuration of two different ways of representing the similarity. Although many scholars consider the metaphor to be a «hidden comparison», but it is not reducible to trope.

The relationship between metaphors and comparisons — a complex and multidimensional phenomenon, that certainly exists. Comparison is of one the universal linguistic categories that is present in any language, and cognitive categories of human consciousness in general. The ability to compare is an inherant part of the process of human cognition and finds its reflection in language. The most complete defenition of metaphor has already been mentioned. In order to distinguish the difference between metaphor and simile it is also necessary to give a definition of the last.

Simile (from Latin — similes — like) — is a partial assimilation of the two objects to each other. For example: The sand on the seaside of the dunes glittered like fine white sugar in the sun (H. Bates). Of course, if it is a question of stylistic device it is the comparison of objects belonging to different classes. There are so-called ungradable, that is imaginative, stylistic comparison (simile) and gradable or the logical comparison (comparison), which, in contrast to the figurative comparisons indicate the intensity of the attributes inherent in the two objects of the same class, therefore, not being figurative-expressive means, do not constitute an interest on this issue [13; 58].

As seen from the examples, metaphor as a comparison, may consist of two components (the subject of comparison and the object of comparison). But in contrast to the comparison, metaphor excludes the predicates of similarity, as «like,» recalls «and comparative conjunctions» if «,» exact «,» how, «as if», «as if», «smooth» and other. In comparison, the formation of the primary functions they perform, as the main feature of this trail.

However, as one can that the relationship between metaphor and comparison, is much deeper than mere external display (shapes). Not for nothing metaphor is called a comparative trope. Also, if you compare the syntax of the function of metaphor and comparison, in the sentence, the metaphor, as a rule, acts as a predicate in a sentence, while the comparison may be a predicate member (unhappiness was like a hungry animal, as a reduced relative clause with lowered the predicate (she's as pretty as a picture and so on.

Every so often metaphor and comparison are intertwined in a poetic speech, where the same semantic relationship has different specific expressions, which makes the metaphor one of the means that varies the notation (a mirror of water — a metaphor, the water like a mirror — a comparison).

Thus, these tropes interact in the case of mutual transformation, that is updated obliterated metaphor with its expansion into its constituent parts and conversion into a comparison (metaphor for «the dome of the sky» is transformed into a comparison of the «sky is dull and muffled, like the dome of the cathedral» (I. Bunin). Thus, unlike simile metaphor is more laconic[16; 107].

Sometimes the source of the metaphor is simile: «And the rhyme I fancied blue among yellow cornflower — but the heart of all the dearest fairy tales, as in childhood, that rhyme my blue Widely noisy fields. Thus, the metaphor and simile are transitive.

In communication metaphors and similes are to detect not only when they express similar semantic relations, but also when they are in similar positions, and perform similar functions. When different items of the same type of speech acquire imagery of conformity, they can expressed not only by metaphor, but by simile as well.

Morover, the metaphor is based on the simile, but differs from it in form, acting as a «covert comparison.» However, their difference can not be reduced to a formal expression: since these two tropes tend to transit sometimes requiring a deep analysis in order to draw the line between metaphor and simile.

Similes and metaphors are often used in descriptive writing to create vivid sight and sound images, as in these two sentences. To prove this notion the study of few exaples is required:

Over my head the clouds thicken, then crack and split like a roar of cannonballs tumbling down a marble staircase; their bellies open--too late to run now!--and suddenly the rain comes down.

The seabirds glide down to the water--stub-winged cargo planes--land awkwardly, taxi with fluttering wings and stamping paddle feet, then dive [23; 15].

The first sentence above contains both a simile («a roar like that of cannonballs») and a metaphor («their bellies open») in its dramatization of a thunderstorm. The second sentence uses the metaphor of «stub-winged cargo planes» to describe the movements of the seabirds. In both cases, the figurative comparisons offer the reader a fresh and interesting way of looking at the thing being described.

Similes and metaphors can be used to convey ideas as well as offer striking images. Consider the simile in the first sentence below and the extended metaphor in the second:

«We walk through volumes of the unexpressed and like snails leave behind a faint thread excreted out of ourselves.

I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed«[19; 35].

Metaphors and similes can not only make our writing more interesting but also help us to think more carefully about our subjects. Put another way, metaphors and similes are not just pretty ornaments; they are ways of thinking.

It goes without saying that while reading a book one should be alert to the ways in which other writers use similes and metaphors in their work. While writing an essay one can use metaphor or simile, it would not be out of place, then, as one revises the paragraphs and essays, the descriptions can be more vivid and ideas clearer by creating original similes and metaphors of one’s own.

Metaphor and simile are two of the best known tropes and are often mentioned together as examples of rhetorical figures. Metaphor and simile are both terms that describe a comparison: the only difference between a metaphor and a simile is that a simile makes the comparison explicit by using «like» or «as.» Despite the similarity of the two figures, and the fact that they have historically been used as synonyms, it is the distinction between them which is normally focused upon in teaching. Ironically, «not knowing the difference between a simile and a metaphor» is sometimes used as a euphemism for knowing little about rhetoric or literature. It is stated by some scientists that there is very little difference between metaphor and simile, and that the distinction is trivial compared to, for example, the difference between metonymy and metaphor. The Colombia Encyclopedia, 6th edition, explains that the difference between metaphor ans simile lies in the fact that: a simile states that A is like B, a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A [16; 37].

Since, «You are my sunshine» is a metaphor, whereas «Your eyes are like the sun» is a simile. However, some may describe similes as simply a specific type of metaphor. Most dictionary definitions of both metaphor and simile support the assertion that, and historically it appears, the terms were used essentially as synonyms. Nonetheless, many lists of literary terms define metaphor as «a comparison not using like or as», showing the emphasis often put on teaching this distinction [26; 35].

Usually, similes and metaphors could easily be interchanged. For example if to remove the word 'like' from William Shakespeare’s simile, «Death lies on her, like an untimely frost,» and it becomes «Death lies on her, an untimely frost,» which retains almost exactly the same meaning. However, at other times using a simile as opposed to a metaphor clarifies the analogy by calling out exactly what is being compared. «He had a posture like a question mark» has one possible interpretation, that the shape of the posture is that of a question mark, whereas «His posture was a question mark» has a second interpretation, that the reason for the posture is in question. At other times use of a simile rather than a metaphor adds meaning by calling to attention the process of comparison, as in «A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle». The point is not to compare a woman to a fish, but to ask the reader to consider how the woman is like the fish. Finally, similes are often more convenient than metaphors when analogizing actions as opposed to things: «Wide sleeves fluttering like wings» does not translate easily from simile to metaphor.

5. Metaphors in Literature and Language

language genre metaphor

Metaphor is prevalent in all genres of speech, intended to influence the emotions and the imagination of the recipient. So from ancient times and oratory, journalism, and is widely used metaphor. Metaphor is characteristic of polemic, especially for political debate, in which it is based on analogies: the war and the struggle (to strike, to win the battle, the team president), game (make a move, win the game, to gamble, bluff, set apart trumps, play map), sports (to pull the rope, get knocked out, throw), hunting (herded into a trap, build up the wrong tree), the mechanism (levers of power), an organism (disease of growth, shoots of democracy), theater (play a major role to be a puppet, extras, prompter, reach the proscenium), etc [17; 42].

Thus, the metaphor is common in almost all spheres of human activity. Indeed, some say that the metaphor — is a powerful instrument of power through which you can reach the most remote corners of our consciousness. However, when talking about the wide use of this trail, you must take into account its dual nature, which manifests itself in the fact that interacts with two different classes of objects, comparing objects, a metaphor for their contrasts. In the semantic structure of the metaphor consists of two components: its value (the actual properties of the subject of metaphor) and the image of its subsidiary subject. Therefore, based metaphorisation is vague concepts, and thus semantic equivocal metaphor does not meet the primary communicative. Key components suggestions (his subject and predicate), so there are still stylistic restrictions on the use of metaphors, in particular it is live. It is not used in the business and legal discourse, laws, regulations, orders, regulations, rules, circulars, the obligations and the like, involving the execution of regulations and control over them. This metaphor is not used in questions designed to obtain accurate and unambiguous information. On the other hand a metaphor encouraged to practice those forms of speech, in which there is an expressive and emotional and aesthetic aspects. It is held in phraseological catch phrase, aphorisms. Example: someone else’s soul — darkness, the eye diamond [17; 45].

Thus, the scope of the use of metaphor is due to its species, and, consequently, the functions of specific types of metaphors. Most often, this trope is found in a literary text, which is characterized by the use of speech or of the original metaphors.

The main functional difference between the use of metaphors in a literary text from non-artistic speech is the nature of aesthetic information. Form of existence of the aesthetic sense is an artistic image, one of the characteristics of which — the semantic diversity of the coexistence of multiple layers of meaning in the text simultaneously. Metaphor that can be reduced with respect to the categorization of concepts that are semantically distant from each other, is the main structural mechanism for the formation of artistic meaning.

In the same speech, non-fiction metaphor is used as a way to create a concept-image, and a clear, easily perceptible content. If the art of speech inherent in the original metaphor, the language is replete with worn metaphors, which often carry nominative function. Such metaphors do not require decoding, since it is already established pattern, domain language, and they worn, faded, their figurative meaning is hardly noticeable in the speech (for example: storm of passion, a game of feelings, the sea of cases), but it still makes the language richer and saturated.

Thus, in a literary text metaphor is implementing two major semantic properties — fine and figuratively, but also serves a constructive function. In addition to the literary text, both in prose and in poetry, metaphor is a means of varying the signs to avoid repetition [18; 143].

However, it should be noted that creating a pictorial and emotional, while the metaphor may make it difficult and complicated. In this regard, the frequency of use of this trail in verse and prose is uneven. In prose, excessive colorful speech impediment stands in the assimilation of the content. Unsuccessful use of metaphor is observed when it conjures up images that do not match the general nature of the product or are spurious, causing vague subtle images. Poems also usually have a relatively small amount, assimilated during the second reading, or even learning by heart, not only permit but even require a new kind of expression of content. In this case, the metaphor of speech acts as one of the techniques and finds much wider application. We can say that metaphor is the foundation of poetry. In poetry, metaphor, based on partial similarity of two objects gives a full statement of their full identity, but that is what gives it a poetic force that is manifested in the partial convergence of distant objects classes. So, in artistic speech and language, a metaphor for various duties, which causes specific use of different types of metaphors.

The Greek plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides, among others, were almost invariably allegorical, showing the tragedy of the protagonists, either to caution the audience metaphorically about temptation, or to lambast famous individuals of the day by inferring similarities with the caricatures in the play [28; 36].

Even when they are not intentional, parallels can be drawn between most writing or language and other topics. In this way it can be seen that any theme in literature is a metaphor, using the story to convey information about human perception of the theme in question.


Metaphor is very common in English and other languages. People often think of it as being a typical feature of poetry and literature. But, in fact, many familiar words and phrases have metaphorical meanings, although we do not usually realize this when we use them.

The idea of metaphor can be traced back to Aristotle who, in his «Poetics» (around 335 BC), defines «metaphor» as follows: «Metaphor is the application of a strange term either transferred from the genus and applied to the species or from the species and applied to the genus, or from one species to another or else by analogy.» Therefore, the key aspect of a metaphor is a specific transference of a word from one context into another. In this way it can be seen that any theme in literature is a metaphor, using the story to convey information about human perception of the theme in question.

The only one definition of metaphor cannot pe presented, as a great number of scientist study this phenomenon and each of them sees it from hie personal angle of vision. In this course paper the frequently used and well-known definitions are presented.

Metaphor has its types among them we can distinquish: common (dead metaphor, extended metaphor (conceit), mixed metaphor, absolute metaphor) and uncommon (absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-metaphor), an active metaphor, a complex metaphor, a compound or loose metaphor, a dying metaphor, a n epic metaphor or Homeric simile, an implicit metaphor, an implied or unstated metaphor, a simple or tight metaphor, a submerged metaphor and a synecdochic metaphor).

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