Nov 23, 2013

Wanderlust: Metaphorical x Literal Meaning

I have been adding posts about figures of speech and pragmatics. This one contrasts literal and figurative meanings, important nuances of language.


Figurative and literal are terms that signify whether language complies with its accepted, dictionary definition (literal) or whether it diverges from its generally accepted meaning by the use of symbolism, exaggeration, or other device (figurative). Literal language strives for one, clear meaning, while figurative language seeks to add layers of meaning that require interpretation. The particular devices a writer employs (for example, metaphor, simile, or personification) are referred to as figures of speech. 

By Chegg

I. Watch the movie segment. Then take a look at the statements selected from the snippet. Finally, decide if they have literal or figurative language.

Money Buys Nothing

Literal or Figurative?

You Can't Express Your Feeling by Sending a Letter through a Fax Machine

Literal or Figurative?

II. Discuss these questions:

1. Why did the characters disagree about the meaning of the sentence "money buys nothing'?

2. What did both of them have in mind when they expressed their ideas? Who do you think is right?

3. What does the character mean with "you can't express your feeling by sending a letter through a fax machine"? 

4. Come up with some figurative ways to say the following sentences.

- She died.

- She's very ugly.

- He's extremely handsome.

- He's very rich.

- That car is very powerful.



Answer key:

Money...      (literal)
                    You can't ... (figurative).

3. He means he wants the couple to stay in the community.


Susan Rogers said...

Hi, there! I haven't seen Wanderlust. But looks like it's a good movie. It made me curious. Thanks for recommending this. I'm going to watch it before I teach this to my students.

Claudio Azevedo said...

I would not show the whole movie to the students. Not all of it is suitable for language learning contexts, but this scene is great.

Unknown said...

Hey thanks for sharing this. This post is really awesome....
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