Four Elements of a Metaphor

  • PDF
  • Print
  • E-mail

Education/four elements of a metaphor

Ralph Maltese

The following information is from

The Nature of Metaphors and Metaphorical Thinking.

Bridging by Pugh, Hicks, Davis, and Venstra

Four Elements of a Metaphor

“Grounding

The grounding of each metaphor in a particular set of experiences points to the importance of prior knowledge in understanding metaphors.  For example, if we speak of someone’s personality as being as warm and comfortable as Grandpa’s old patched sweater, those who have had experiences with kind grandfathers and comfortable old sweaters will best appreciate the metaphor.  Others who have been told about these things can understand, but may not be impressed.  People from regions such as the tropics, where sweaters are not common garments, may be quite puzzled.

Form

Form relates to the general commonality of the two concepts involved and is usually what immediately strikes one about a metaphor.  For example, in a comparison of the atom and the solar system, we need an overall picture of objects orbiting around a center.  To entertain the metaphor that teaching is gardening, we need a structural picture of cultivation resulting in independent growth.  The form may also be conceptual.  The metaphor “iron curtain” requires a grasp of paradox, because one term seemingly contradicts the other; iron is hard and inflexible, whereas a curtain is usually soft and pliable.  To combine them is to pose an anomaly and to heighten the threat of the phenomenon, which was the effect of the metaphor when it was first used.

Correspondences

Correspondences occur within the form of the metaphor.  They are the multiple points of comparison within the form, and it is through these correspondences that we see the working of he metaphor.  The more correspondences we can perceive, the more complex and convincing the metaphor; thus, the better the metaphor works.  As an example, Howard A. Peele develops this metaphor for the term metaphor, which contains a number of correspondences:

Metaphors cultivate the mind.  They prepare furrows for planting ideas, which in time grow to mature understanding.  If the climate is too arid for learning or if work has been neglected for too long, metaphors can break through an unreceptive crust to more fertile ground where the nutrients of teaching can be absorbed.(1984,2)

Within the context of gardening, Peele brings out many correspondences:  cultivation, planting, growth, climate, fertility, and nutrition.  This metaphor, we might say, walks on many legs, not just one or two, but at least six.

Connotation

Metaphors themselves become definitions of our experience, and as Lakoff and Johnson point out, primary experiences are physical.  We know the world first through our bodies.  From that center, we move outward into social, political, and religious realms.  In other words, metaphors express our attitudes, the connotative meanings that phenomena have for us both physically and socially.

For example, let us examine the metaphor that the teacher is a candle.  This metaphor implies that the teacher’s life is consumed by providing illumination for others.  This is a Malaysian metaphor that captures the attitude toward teachers in that culture, where the word for teacher is guru.   The candle metaphor expresses the ideal that dedicated teachers expend their life forces as energy in the transference of wisdom

We might ask ourselves the extent to which this metaphor is appropriate to American culture.  Do we, for example, have the same idea of teaching as self-sacrifice?  We must consider the form and correspondences of the metaphor, and what these connote, in order to answer this question.  To us the candle image may connote teacher burnout, which is probably not a connotation in the Malaysian metaphor.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2010 18:31

 

Comments  

 
0 #186 sky777 download 2018-11-20 11:23
It's not my first time to pay a quick visit this site, i
am visiting this website dailly and obtain pleasant information from
here every day.
Quote
 
 
0 #185 sky777 download 2018-11-20 11:23
It's not my first time to pay a quick visit this site, i
am visiting this website dailly and obtain pleasant information from
here every day.
Quote
 
 
0 #184 live 22419 2018-11-19 18:42
Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect
against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard on. Any recommendations ?
Quote
 
 
0 #183 live22 download 2018-11-19 07:40
An individual are want build an outstanding logo, preferred way is definitely programs like Photoshop.
The truth is, it is anything all over the state of your website.
Quote
 
 
0 #182 918Kiss download 2018-11-19 06:09
I have been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
It's pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you
did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.
Quote
 
 
0 #181 l88 2018-11-15 05:49
Now that doesn't sound from trouble . does doing it? Optimizing your fonts aid you attract more
readers because your content is far more readable. We want it
to communicate directly with target promot.
Quote
 
 
0 #180 l88 2018-11-15 05:49
Now that doesn't sound from trouble . does doing it? Optimizing your fonts aid you attract more
readers because your content is far more readable. We want it
to communicate directly with target promot.
Quote
 
 
0 #179 l88 2018-11-15 05:49
Now that doesn't sound from trouble . does doing it? Optimizing your fonts aid you attract more
readers because your content is far more readable. We want it
to communicate directly with target promot.
Quote
 
 
0 #178 l88 2018-11-15 05:49
Now that doesn't sound from trouble . does doing it? Optimizing your fonts aid you attract more
readers because your content is far more readable. We want it
to communicate directly with target promot.
Quote
 
 
0 #177 cheap watch 2018-11-12 06:54
I visited many web pages but the audio quality for audio songs present at this web
site is actually superb.
Quote
 
 
0 #176 l22 2018-11-12 02:45
At the end, they was unable to get a desired result and achieve nothing.
They are the professionals and know all about designs and codes and how
to make an affiliate site look really slick.
Quote
 
 
0 #175 l22 2018-11-12 02:45
At the end, they was unable to get a desired result and achieve nothing.
They are the professionals and know all about designs and codes and how
to make an affiliate site look really slick.
Quote
 
 
0 #174 live roulette netent 2018-11-07 02:18
I'm in the process of creating a new blog in WordPress for
Inner Clarity. In this principle, endeavor to recognize your fears, acknowledge them followed
by move through them. Your first date should be arranged at a public place.
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

A Class Act--Teaching for Smarties

Comments?

  • Hello. I see that you don't update your site too o...
  • Hello. I see that you don't update your site too o...
  • Whatever your motivation could at a single want to...
  • Great blog! Do you have any tips and hints for asp...
  • WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by sear...