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Metaphor  

2009-12-13 18:19:03|  分类: 花中李的English |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Encyclopedia

A metaphor is a figure of speech concisely comparing two things, saying that one is the other. The English metaphor derives from the 16th c. Old French

Old French

Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories which span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from around 900 to 1300...

 métaphore, from the Latin metaphora “carrying over”, Greek (μεταφορ?) metaphorá “transfer”, from (μεταφ?ρω) metaphero “to carry over”, “to transfer” and from (μετ?) meta “between” + (φ?ρω) phero, “to bear”, “to carry”. Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical

Rhetoric

Rhetoric is one of the arts of using language as a means to persuade. Along with grammar and logic or dialectic, rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. From ancient Greece to the late 19th Century, it was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public...

 figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis

Antithesis

Antithesis is a counter-proposition and denotes a direct contrast to the original proposition...

, hyperbole

Hyperbole

Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally....

, metonymy

Metonymy

Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. It comes from the , , "a change of name", from , , "after, beyond" and , , a suffix used to name figures of...

, and simile

Simile

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without...

; all are species of metaphor.

Structure

The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936), by I. A. Richards

I. A. Richards

Ivor Armstrong Richards was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician....

, reports that metaphor is in two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject whose attributes are borrowed. Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. Consider the All the world's a stage monologue from As You Like It

As You Like It

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The work was based upon the novel Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in...

:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

,

As You Like It

As You Like It

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The work was based upon the novel Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in...

, 2/7

In this metaphoric example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle.

In cognitive linguistics

Cognitive linguistics

In linguistics and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics refers to the school of linguistics that understands language creation, learning, and usage as best explained by reference to human cognition in general. It is characterized by adherence to three central positions...

, the terms target and source correspond to the terms tenor and vehicle. In this nomenclature, metaphors are named with the small-capital typographic convention TARGET IS SOURCE, and all-capitals when small-caps are unavailable; in this notation, the metaphor discussed above would be LIFE IS THEATRE. In a conceptual metaphor

Conceptual metaphor

In cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor, or cognitive metaphor, refers to the understanding of one idea, or conceptual domain, in terms of another, for example, understanding quantity in terms of directionality . A conceptual domain can be any coherent organization of human experience...

 the elements of an extended metaphor constitute the metaphor’s mapping — in the Shakespeare quotation above, exits would be mapped to “death” and entrances mapped to “birth”.

a metaphor is comparing two unlike things without using like or as

Types, terms, and categories

A metaphor is more forceful (active) than an analogy

Analogy

Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

, because metaphor asserts two things are the same, whereas analogy acknowledges difference; other rhetorical

Rhetoric

Rhetoric is one of the arts of using language as a means to persuade. Along with grammar and logic or dialectic, rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. From ancient Greece to the late 19th Century, it was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public...

 comparative figures of speech, such as metonymy

Metonymy

Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. It comes from the , , "a change of name", from , , "after, beyond" and , , a suffix used to name figures of...

, parable

Parable

A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters.Some scholars of the New...

, simile

Simile

A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without...

, and synecdoche

Synecdoche

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which:* a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing , or...

, are species of metaphor distinguished by how the comparison is communicated. The metaphor category also contains these specialized types:

  • allegory

    Allegory

    Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal. An allegory is a device that can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in painting or sculpture...

    : An extended metaphor wherein a story illustrates an important attribute of the subject

  • catachresis

    Catachresis

    Catachresis is "misapplication of a word, especially in a mixed metaphor" according to the Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. Another meaning is to use an existing word to denote something that has no name in the current language....

    : A mixed metaphor used by design and accident (a rhetorical fault)

  • parable

    Parable

    A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. It differs from a fable in that fables use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters.Some scholars of the New...

    : An extended metaphor narrated as an anecdote illustrating and teaching a moral lesson

Common types

  • A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of the transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding, most do not visualize the action; dead metaphors normally go unnoticed. Some people distinguish between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers ignore, e.g. "to break the ice". Others use dead metaphor to denote both concepts, and generally use it to describe a metaphoric cliché

    Cliché

    A cliché , is a saying, expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel...

    .

  • An extended metaphor (conceit), establishes a principal subject (comparison) and subsidiary subjects (comparisons). The
  • As You Like It quotation is a good example, the world is described as a stage, and then men and women are subsidiary subjects further described in the same context.
  • A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first. Example: "If we can hit that bullseye then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate."
  • Per Hans Blumenberg

    Hans Blumenberg

    Hans Blumenberg was a German philosopher.He studied philosophy, Germanistics and classics and is considered to be one of the most important German philosophers of recent decades...

    ’s metaphorology, absolute metaphor denotes a figure or a concept that cannot be reduced to, or replaced with solely conceptual thought and language. Absolute metaphors, e.g. “light” (for “truth”) and “seafaring” (for “human existence”) – have distinctive meanings (unlike the literal meanings), and, thereby, function as orientations in the world, and as theoretic questions, such as presenting the world as a whole. Because they exist at the pre-predicative level, express and structure pragmatic

    Pragmatics

    Pragmatics is a subfield of linguistics which studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning. Pragmatics encompasses speech act theory, conversational implicature, talk in interaction and other approaches to language behavior in philosophy, sociology, and linguistics. It studies how the...

     and theoretical views of Man and the World.

Uncommon types

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

  • An absolute or paralogical metaphor (sometimes called an anti-metaphor) is one in which there is no discernible point of resemblance between the idea and the image. e.g. “light” as a metaphor for truth or virtue.
  • An active metaphor is one which by contrast to a dead metaphor, is not part of daily language and is noticeable as a metaphor.
  • A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example: "That throws some light on the question." Throwing light is a metaphor: there is no actual light, and a question is not the sort of thing that can be lit up.
  • A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Examples: "He has the wild stag's foot." This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring.
  • A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell

    George Orwell

    Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist...

     in his essay Politics and the English Language

    Politics and the English Language

    "Politics and the English Language" is an essay by George Orwell criticizing "ugly and inaccurate" contemporary written English.Orwell said that political prose was formed "to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell believed...

    . Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are different, as they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and is used because it saves people the trouble of inventing an original phrase for themselves. In short, a cliché

    Cliché

    A cliché , is a saying, expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, rendering it a stereotype, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel...

    . Example: Achilles' heel

    Achilles' heel

    An Achilles’ heel is a fatal weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.The strongest and...

    . Orwell suggests that writers scan their work for such dying forms that they have 'seen regularly before in print' and replace them with alternative language patterns.

  • An epic metaphor or Homeric simile

    Homeric simile

    Homeric simile, also called epic simile, is a detailed comparison in the form of a simile that is many lines in length. The word "Homeric" is based on the Greek author Homer, who composed the two famous Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey...

    is an extended metaphor containing details about the vehicle that are not, in fact, necessary for the metaphoric purpose. This can be extended to humorous lengths, for instance: "This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you've got a moment, it's a twelve-story crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour porterage and an enormous sign on the roof saying 'This Is a Large Crisis.'" (Blackadder

    Blackadder

    Blackadder is the generic name that encompasses four series of a BBC One historical sitcom, along with several one-off installments.All episodes star Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and his dogsbody, Baldrick. Each series is set in a different historical period with...

    )

  • 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.
  • An implied or unstated metaphor is a metaphor not explicitly stated or obvious that compares two things by using adjectives that commonly describe one thing, but are used to describe another comparing the two.

    An example: "Golden baked skin", comparing bakery goods to skin or "green blades of nausea", comparing green grass to the pallor of a nausea-stic person or "leafy golden sunset" comparing the sunset to a tree in the fall.

  • 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 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 synecdochic

    Synecdoche

    Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which:* a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing , or...

     metaphor is a trope that is both a metaphor and a synecdoche in which a small part of something is chosen to represent the whole so as to highlight certain elements of the whole.

Use outside of rhetoric

The term metaphor is also used for the following terms that are not a part of rhetoric:

  • A cognitive metaphor

    Cognitive metaphor

    The cognitive metaphor of a website is the association of the site concept to an experience outside of a site's environment. It is used to enhance the level of comfort the user experiences using the website since this association relates the navigational schemes, processes, and informational areas...

    is the association of an object to an experience outside the object's environment.

  • A conceptual metaphor

    Conceptual metaphor

    In cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor, or cognitive metaphor, refers to the understanding of one idea, or conceptual domain, in terms of another, for example, understanding quantity in terms of directionality . A conceptual domain can be any coherent organization of human experience...

    is an underlying association that is systematic in both language and thought.

  • A root metaphor is the underlying worldview that shapes an individual's understanding of a situation.
  • A therapeutic metaphor

    Therapeutic metaphor

    Therapeutic metaphor is a type of conceptual metaphor presented as a story or other parallel to an entire aspect of a situation, related by a psychotherapist to a patient. The purpose of this is to highlight to a person, in an effective way, some aspects and lessons that otherwise they might not be...

    is an experience that allows one to learn about more than just that experience.

  • A visual metaphor provides a frame or window on experience. Metaphors can also be implied and extended throughout pieces of literature.

History in literature and language

Metaphor is present in the oldest written Sumerian

Sumerian language

Sumerian was the language of ancient Sumer, spoken in Southern Mesopotamia since at least the 4th millennium BCE . It was gradually replaced by Akkadian as a spoken language somewhere around the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BCE , but continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary...

 language

Language

A language is a system for encoding and decoding information. In its most common use, the term refers to so-called "natural languages" — the forms of communication considered peculiar to humankind. In linguistics the term is extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and using...

 narrative, the Epic of Gilgamesh

Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Ancient Iraq and is among the earliest known works of literary writings. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems about the mythological hero-king Gilgamesh, which were gathered into a longer Akkadian poem much later;...

:

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? — (Trans. Kovacs, 1989)

In this example, the friend is compared to a mule

Mule

A mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two F1 hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny...

, a wild donkey, and a panther

Black panther

A black panther is a large black cat. Black panthers are color variants of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars , in Asia and Africa they are black leopards , and in North America reported black panthers may be black jaguars or possibly black...

 to indicate that the speaker sees traits from these animals in his friend (A comparison between two or more unlike objects).

The idea of metaphor can be traced back to Aristotle

Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology.Together with Plato and Socrates , Aristotle is one of...

 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

Analogy

Analogy is a cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject to another particular subject , and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process...

.” For the sake of clarity and comprehension it might additionally be useful to quote the following two alternative translations: “Metaphor is the application of an alien name by transference either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or by analogy, that is, proportion.” Or, as Halliwell puts it in his translation: “Metaphor is the application of a word that belongs to another thing: either from genus to species, species to genus, species to species, or by analogy.”

Therefore, the key aspect of a metaphor is a specific transference of a word from one context into another. With regard to the four kinds of metaphors which Aristotle distincts against each other the last one (transference by analogy) is the most eminent one so that all important theories on metaphor have a reference to this characterization.

The Greek plays of Sophocles

Sophocles

Sophocles was the second of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus and earlier than those of Euripides...

, Aeschylus

Aeschylus

Aeschylus was an ancient Greek playwright. He is often recognized as the father of tragedy, and is the earliest of the three Greek tragedians whose plays survive, the others being Sophocles and Euripides...

, and Euripides

Euripides

Euripides was the lastof the three great tragedians of classical Athens . Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias...

, 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.

Novelist and essayist Giannina Braschi

Giannina Braschi

Poet and novelist Giannina Braschi is credited with writing the first Spanglish novel YO-YO BOING! and the poetry trilogy Empire of Dreams , which chronicles the Latin American immigrant's experiences in the United States...

 states, "Metaphors and Similes are the beginning of the democratic system of envy."

Even when they are not intentional, they can be drawn between most writing or language and other topics. In this way it can be seen that any theme

Theme (literature)

A broad idea, message, or lesson that is conveyed by a work. The message may be about life, society, or human nature. Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and may be implied rather than stated explicitly...

 in literature is a metaphor, using the story to convey information about human perception of the theme in question.

In historical linguistics

In historical onomasiology

Onomasiology

Onomasiology is a branch of linguistics concerned with the question "how do you express X?" It is in fact most commonly understood as a branch of lexicology, the study of words .Onomasiology, as a part of lexicology, departs from a concept Onomasiology (from — to name, which in turn is from ?νομα...

 or, more generally, in historical linguistics

Historical linguistics

Historical linguistics is the study of language change. It has five main concerns:* to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages;...

, metaphor is defined as semantic change based on similarity, i.e. a similarity in form or function between the original concept named by a word and the target concept named by this word. Example: mouse 'small, gray rodent' > 'small, gray, mouse-shaped computer device'.

Some recent linguistic theories view language as by its nature all metaphorical; or that language in essence is metaphorical.

See also

  • Alliteration

    Alliteration

    Alliteration is a literary or rhetorical stylistic device that consists in repeating the same consonant sound at the beginning of several words in close succession...

  • Analysis of subjective logics

    Analysis of subjective logics

    Analysis of subjective logics is an original method of discourse analysis developed and taught by the french psychoanalyst Jean-Jacques Pinto.- Definition :A.S.L...

  • Cognitive metaphor

    Cognitive metaphor

    The cognitive metaphor of a website is the association of the site concept to an experience outside of a site's environment. It is used to enhance the level of comfort the user experiences using the website since this association relates the navigational schemes, processes, and informational areas...

  • Conceptual blending

    Conceptual blending

    Conceptual Blending is a general theory of cognition. According to this theory, elements and vital relations from diverse scenarios are "blended" in a subconscious process known as Conceptual Blending, which is assumed to be ubiquitous to everyday thought and language...

  • Conceptual metaphor

    Conceptual metaphor

    In cognitive linguistics, conceptual metaphor, or cognitive metaphor, refers to the understanding of one idea, or conceptual domain, in terms of another, for example, understanding quantity in terms of directionality . A conceptual domain can be any coherent organization of human experience...

  • Description

    Description

    Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

  • List of political metaphors
  • Metaphor in philosophy

    Metaphor in philosophy

    Metaphor, the description of one thing as something else, has become of interest in recent decades to both analytic philosophy and continental philosophy, but for different reasons.- Metaphor in analytic philosophy :...

  • Nautical metaphors in English

    Nautical metaphors in English

    Thanks to the historical importance of seafaring in British culture, the English language is rich in related metaphors from the age of sail. Some examples are:* Taken aback* Batten down the hatches* Clear the decks* Loaded to the gunwales...

  • Pataphor
  • Reification (fallacy)

    Reification (fallacy)

    Reification is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity...

  • Simile

    Simile

    A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word "like" or "as". Even though similes and metaphors are both forms of comparison, similes allow the two ideas to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things without...

  • Tertium comparationis

    Tertium comparationis

    Tertium comparationis is the quality that two things which are being compared have in common. It is the point of comparison which prompted the author of the comparison in question to liken someone or something to someone or something else in the first place.If a comparison visualizes an action,...

  • Therapeutic metaphor

    Therapeutic metaphor

    Therapeutic metaphor is a type of conceptual metaphor presented as a story or other parallel to an entire aspect of a situation, related by a psychotherapist to a patient. The purpose of this is to highlight to a person, in an effective way, some aspects and lessons that otherwise they might not be...

External links

* A short history of metaphor

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.

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