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Function of Figurative Language and Literal Language.


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1. Define the meaning and function of figurative language and literal language.
Figurative language and literal language are different ways of analyzing the meaning of languages in various traditions. literal language refers to words that do not deviate from their defined meaning. Whereas figurative language refers to words, and groups of words, that exaggerate or alter the usual meanings of the component words. Figurative language may involve analogy to similar concepts or other contexts, and may involve exaggerations. Whenever you describe something by comparing it with something else, we are using figurative language.
The function of literal language is to present word or groups of words to "literally" mean exactly what they intended to be. Using literal language simplify the mean of words for everyone to understand. Figurative language function differently, it allow the use of word or groups of word to them different meaning and give one to think what the writer actually mean which will give one a true or false answer and still be correct. These lead to different figure of speeches which make languages very interesting.
2. Provide an example for each of the following terms and when it might lead to misunderstanding - idiom, analogy, metaphor, simile, cliché, amphiboly, "flame word", hyperbole, euphemism, and colloquialism.
The following terms are ways of expressing meaning of language using figurative language. An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning or associative or connotative meaning. Idioms have meaning that cannot be figure out by looking up the words in the dictionary. They have meanings that are understood by people who speak that language, but are very hard to understand for people who do not speak that language. Examples of idioms is as follows: " He took me to the cleaners" - means to cause them to lose a lot of money; another one is "You should keep an eye out for that". To keep an eye out for something means to watch for it.
The term "analogy" is a method of explanation or clarification involving a comparison of the difficult material to something that is more easily grasped by the explainer's audience. The two items used in the analogy do not have to be alike in any respect other than the element that is the topic of the discussion. Examples of analogies are: "I am going to be toast when I get home". This is usually said when someone is in trouble with their significant other. The other is "I feel like a fish out of water" - This implies that you are not comfortable in your surroundings.
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another. Am implied comparison is made between two unlike things that actually have something in common. A metaphor is distinct from, but related to a simile, which is also a comparison. The primary difference is that a simile uses the word like or as to compare two things, while a metaphor simply suggests that the dissimilar things are the same. Examples of metaphor are: "Broken heart" - your heart is not literally broken into pieces; you just feel hurt and sad; and "The light of my life" - The person described by this metaphor is not really providing physical light. He or she is just someone who brings happiness or joy.
Simile is a figure of speech that uses the words "like" or "as" to compare one object or idea with another to suggest they are alike. A simile is a more direct comparison of two things and a metaphor is an indirect comparison. Examples of simile are: "She is busier than a bee" - That is comparing someone's level of energy to a fast-flying bee. The other is " life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get"- comparing the uncertainty of life to the uncertainty of choosing a chocolate from a box.
The figurative language everyone is tired of hearing is "cliché" is an expression that has been used so often that it has become stale and something boring. Examples of cliché: "All's well that ends well" - This means that even if there were problems along the way, it does not matter as long as there is a happy ending. Another cliché is " In the nick of time".- This means that something happened just in time.
Amphiboly is the ambiguity of speech, especially from uncertainty of the grammatical construction rather than of the meaning of the words. Amphiboly can cause confusion and hence puts the other person into a state where they are open to different ideas. Amphiboly may be deliberate or accidental. Where it is deliberate, it may be used to confuse or make subconscious suggestions. This is particularly effective where the second meaning of the sentence may take a few moments to sink in. thus the obvious meaning is stated with the intent that the secondary meaning is interpreted only at the subconscious level. An example of amphiboly: " Teenagers should not be allowed to drive. it is getting too dangerous on the streets". This could be taken to mean the teenagers will be in danger, or that they will cause the danger.
The phrase "flame word" is using and misusing figurative language may make it more difficult for others to engage in productive thinking. Flame words are used in hostile and insulting interaction. For example, it is frequently the result of the discussion of heated real-world issues such as politics, sports, religion and philosophy, or of issues that polarize subpopulations, but can also be provoked by seemingly trivial differences.
Hyperbole is a figure of speech which is an exaggeration used to make point. Such statements are not literally true, but people make them to sound impressive or to emphasize something, such as a feeling, effort, or reaction. Hyperboles can be found in liturature and oral communication. They would not be used in nonfictional works, like medical or research papers, but, they are perfect for nonfictional works, especially to add color to a character or humor to the story. Examples of hyperbole are: " You could have knock me over with a feather"; and "I nearly died laughing". Yet the hyperbole is often used unconsciously by men of vivid yet unbalance imagination whom the world sometimes calls liars or sometimes fools.
Euphemism is general harmless word, name, or phrase that replaces an offensive or suggestive one. Some euphemisms intend to amuse, while others intend to give positive appearances to negative events or even mislead entirely. Euphemism is often used as a substitution of an inoffensive term such as "passed away" for one considered offensively explicit, "died"; or pre-owned for used or second-hand; or enhanced interrogation for torture. Euphemisms are used for dissimulation to refer to taboo topics such as sex and love in a polite way, and to mask profanity.
Colloquialism is a word, phrase, or paralanguage that is employed in conversation or informal language but not in formal speech or formal writing. One such example is the phrase "what's up?" Many of us would understand this as an informal question that expresses ideas like "Hi", or "How are you?" or "what are you doing?" Yet you would not want to begin a business letter with a phrase or even just a nice to a family member. Part of the problem with a colloquialism like "what's up" is that it is very vague, and its informality would not be suited to most formal writing, unless you are writing fiction where it would make sense for a character to utter such a phrase.

1. 10/25/2012
2. Kirby, G.R. and Goodpaster, J.R. Authors - Thinking, Forth Edition 2012

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