The Conventional Figurative Language Theory

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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
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The Conventional Figurative Language Theory (CFLT) proposed by Dobrovol’skij and Piirainen takes this feature into account and deals with the task of explaining the meanings and functions of particular expressions together with other conceptual and semiotic phenomena. (Dobrovol’skij/Piirainen 2005: 1-4) The general idea of this theory is that there is a specific conceptual structure underlying figurative units and a relevant element of their meaning. The relation of the CFLT to figurative language is marked by two basic criteria: image component which is based on mental imagery (a concept which connects lexical structure and the actual meaning of figurative units) and additional…show more content…
They can be developed to different extents and occur in different combinations as: (i) a non-figurative idiom without an image that can carry out the function of an additional meaning (all synonyms are additional meanings); (ii) a non-figurative idiom which has an image but does not function as an additional meaning (e.g. sea horse, ‘mouse’ as a computer device in mouse click, mouse pointer or an animal); (iii) an idiom with a (more or less) strong image and ‘normal’ synonyms (the stronger the image, the more likely it is that an idiom will be considered figurative. (e.g. clematis or old man’s beard). (Dobrovol’skij/Piirainen 2005:
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