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When Ralph Waldo Emerson said that all men are poets at heart he might have been exposing a deeper truth than he realized For even in the coldest most calculating of minds there are indeed wisps of pure poetry The metaphor metaphore or metaphora is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denotes one kind of object or idea used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them Metaphor Comprehension Theories 3-step Comprehension Model Clark Lucy 1975 Utterances may have intended meanings that differ from their literal meanings According to Grice the intended meaning is based on the cooperative principle maxims of conversation which are mutually agreed to by participants in a conversation There is the maxim of quantity say as much and no more than is needed quality only say what you believe to be true relation be relevant and manner be clear When one of the maxims is broken an inference that the intended meaning is different from the literal meaning may be possible to make sense of the violation For example the utterance Its cold in here is an assertion of a self-evident fact in its literal meaning However in the assumption of the relevance theory it may carry the intended meaning of a request Close the door Though Grices works on metaphors and language were generally more philosphical in nature they sparked the 3-step Comprehension procedure Clark Lucy 1975 1 Derive Literal or Direct Meaning 2 Assess Interpretability of the Literal Interpretation against Context of Utterance 3 If Anomaly detected Alternative Nonliteral or Indirect Interpretation is made As is with Grices principle literal meaning is claimed by this model to be the priority in processing and precedes any alternative interpretation However a flaw with this claim is that literal interpretation is often unnecessary to understand nonliteral statements such as idioms and indirect requests Gibbs 1984
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