figurative language

Quick Reference

See also rhetoric; compare imagery.

1. Language that employs figures of speech, especially metaphor.

2. As opposed to literal language, language that is not intended to be taken literally: see metaphoric meaning.

3. Language that is more connotative than denotative: see also connotation; denotation.

4. Language that is more expressive and/or poetic than referential in its linguistic function. This can include all literary language (not just ‘poetic language’); however, references to it as literary language or literary imagery ignore the fact that such language is ubiquitous in everyday speech. It is also particularly associated with the language of advertising. See also expressive function; poetic function; compare referential function.

5. Any use of language that is stylistically or semantically marked, deviating from conventional usage or meaning.

6. Language that is perceived as decorative, ornamental, or colourful rather than plain and instrumental; this may lead to connotations of femininity. See also cloak theory.

7. For the scientists of the Royal Society in 17th-century England, the kind of language that distorts reality and truth, and which they consequently sought to eliminate in scientific discourse.

8. Language that has been argued to shape thought (see linguistic determinism) or express us (Barthes) rather than merely expressing preformed thoughts: see also mould theory.

9. For critical discourse analysts, language that sheds light on the framing of reality within discourse: see also critical discourse analysis.

10. For deconstructionists, the root of all language, which cannot be eliminated in supposedly literal forms (see also deconstruction).

Subjects: Media Studies.

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