Essay On Figurative Language

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In ordinary language use, people are rarely conscious of what kind of meaning their phrases convey, be it figurative, literal or any other meaning. They are just producing and trying to understand the discourse in a given context along with the communicative goals which speakers mutually share. But if to study the use of ordinary language more thoroughly, it is possible to identify the differences between figurative and non-figurative or literal language. However, the problem lies in the difficulty of distinguishing between literal (what is said) and figurative (what is implied) meaning, since some figurative meanings may be acquired through complex deductive process with other aspects being understood more directly depending on what speakers pragmatically imply.…show more content…
How’s the job? A piece of cake. Linguistically there’s no meaningful interpretation of the expression and when reinterpreted pragmatically, it proves to be unlikely in the context to decipher that that a piece of cake is associated with something being very easy. Therefore, the expression is considered as non-figurative or literal. (Grant & Bauer 2004: 49-51) To sum up, even though the issue is very debatable between scholars, it is clear that idioms are analyzable when it is possible to make sense of them by making complex pragmatic reinterpretations of their meanings. When trying to comprehend an idiom, people image the concrete meaning that emerges from their mental (pragmatic) representation of a sentence. If it is possible to decompose the meaning of an idiom on the pragmatic level, then this kind of idiom is considered figurative. Although, an idiom is believed to be non-figurative or literal, when the meaning of an idiom, extracted pragmatically, doesn’t provide a meaningful interpretation of it, i.e. its meaning is not inherent in it. Thus, pragmatic competence plays a great role in figurative language processing and differentiating between figurative and literal meanings of idiomatic
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