discussion post, about “studying meaning” in linguistics.

Select what you feel is an important quote from Chapter 5, “Studying Meaning”, and provide commentary (give your opinion, interpretation, insight, analysis, explication, personal reaction, evaluation, or reflection) about it. Note remember to use quotation marks around the quote and provide a page number (the quote is not included in the word count).

(have been highlighted on the pdf): “Linguists sometimes tend to gloss over the subject of metaphor partly because it’s associated with literary devices, and partly because, until recently, they weren’t entirely sure about how to account for it in linguistic terms. But it is one of the principal ways in which we exercise our creativity in language… the gap between the world of experience, inarticulate and formless, which comprises much of our existence, and the formal constraints of the linguistic system. I want to suggest to you now that metaphor is both a recognition of that gap and also the chief way in which language seeks to overcome it.” Pg no. 149

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This quote about metaphor and the associated section intrigued me the most among all other concepts discussed in this chapter. Before reading this, I thought of metaphor as a tool limited to the poetic world. But here, the author sheds light on the general role it plays in ordinary language as a part of semantic change. It is a creative way in which we use language and by which we transform the abstract sense into a concrete one. We draw relations from the material world and use it to visualize the abstract ideas. For example, compare the sentences “Gather your tools” and “Gather your courage”. Here, drawing a relation from the former, the latter visualizes courage as a gatherable object. It is the case because that is how we feel about the abstract sense of courage, like a tool (in a physical sense) that we need to assemble when we need it. This process happens quite unconsciously and conveying the intangible wouldn’t be possible without it. Pondering deep, we can even model language as a broader sense of metaphor since all it does is representation. All of these shows the expanding scope of metaphor in linguistics. Further researches can lead to better recognition of this remarkable concept [1].

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