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September 24, 2007

What is a metaphor?

When first trying to understand the meaning behind 'the sun is an apple blossom' I first wanted to get back to the root of what a metaphor was. Originally, the word metaphor was a greek word meaning "transfer." Many times this is exactly what a metaphor does, transfers the meaning of one word onto another and like it was mentioned in the limited fork blog, makes the meaning of something that is ungraspable more tangible. This is where the understand of the words becomes tricky. Even though a metaphor makes something ungraspable more tangible, the metaphor can still be valid and make sense when switched around. We could say that 'an apple blossom is the sun,' still helps us understand the sun, something that may be out of our range of understanding.

The translation of the phrase presents an interesting situation. Because online translaters generically translate whatever you tell them to, when you translate back and forth there can be problems that are encountered with putting together sentences that will not make sense in one language or the other. An interesting adventure into understand how different languages relate the same meaning would unfortunately require more than a basic understanding of several languages. It does present a unique situation though to see what the online translaters provide us with when we ask them to translate things back and forth.

Posted by ndjames at September 24, 2007 05:36 PM


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