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A wide range of figurative stylistic means is a way to enliven our communication with other people. It should be noted that emotional context of communication depends on the stylistic means we use. For example, the language of poetry or fiction is filled with metaphors, similes and onomatopoeias. These stylistic figurative means should be used by the interlocutors in order to make their conversation more interesting and diverse. Further on we will discuss some of these stylistic means and illustrate them with examples in order to show a highly emotionally-expressive nature of these words and expressions.
Idiom is one of the most often used figurative stylistic means. It is a set expression, which is of deep figurative nature. This expression can be understood beyond the framework of its context. For example, beat about the bush means avoiding from doing something exactly or right now. Another idiom “to lay one’s cards on the table” means revelation of true intentions. As far as we can see, in the first case the idiom is not so transparent, as in the second case with cards. Therefore, the nature of idioms can be rather challenging and there is a need for good background knowledge, in order to clarify the origin and the meaning of the idiom.
Amphiboly is a stylistic device, which is used for misleading of the reader. For example, very often we come across such ads in the newspapers: “4 rooms, river view, private phone, bath and kitchen”. When we come to that flat, there is no kitchen, no bath. Then we are told that it was not said about a private kitchen or bath. It was said that phone is private. Thus, we are disillusioned and could not reveal the cunning nature of this ad, because amphiboly was used appropriately.
When we use analogy, we draw parallels between characteristics of two things, which may be a good basis for further comparison: e.g. heart is like a pump. The following example illustrates an effective analogy in the context: “The "famous Argentine football player, Diego Maradona, is not always associated with the theory of the monetary policy," but the football player's performance in the 1986 World Cup for Argentina against England perfectly summarized central modern banking, the Bank of England's sports fan governor added” (Nordquist). Therefore it does not occur to the reader why to compare a football player with monetary policy, but in the end, it proves that this analogy really works.
“Flame word” is often referred to as “flame” in the modern computer discourse. Initially this stylistic device triggers negative emotions of the respondent: these can be intimidating or derogating words, indicating mental defectives (“idiot”, “fool” etc). Therefore if to use “flame words”, it may lead to a temper loss of your interlocutor and to a bad outcome.
When we use a metaphor we draw parallels between two things, which cannot be actually compared, but nevertheless they have something in common. It is interesting to trace metaphors not only in poetry or the figurative language, but even in the modern technocratic discourse. For example, such terms as “dummy address”, “trash can”, “file” are borrowed from the common language, but are applied for definition of phenomena in the computer discourse. Moreover, “bread crumbing” means tracing one’s actions and route in the Internet. This metaphor is borrowed from a tale about Peter Pan, when he left bread crumbs behind him in order to reach his home.
Hyperbole is a stylistic device, which is focused on exaggeration of real events: "I was helpless. I did not know what to do in the world. I was quaking from head to foot, and could have hung my hat on my eyes, they stuck out so far." (Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi"). We use it to make our ideas more expressive and appealing for the audience to the greatest extent. Moreover, the effect of exaggeration results in a more attentive attitude to the words one has said.
When we use simile, we often compare two incomparable things, but introduce this comparison by means of words like or as. We can illustrate this kind of comparison by the slogan of Pan-American Coffee Bureau: "Good coffee is like friendship: rich and warm and strong." (from Website Grammar About.com). Of course, similes are very often mixed up with metaphors and there is a need to develop certain skills in order to differ between these two stylistic devices. There is no doubt that these two stylistic devices are focused on the emotively loaded expressions for sure.
Euphemism is used in order to decrease a negative impression or uncomfortable feelings from the usage of a word with a negative connotation: we can say to pass away, but not to die; we can say about people with physical disabilities as “handicapped”. In such a way we want to make our speech more tolerant, neutral and inoffensive.
Cliché can be considered from the two different prospects. On the one hand, these are expressions, which are overused and are common nowadays: “to this day”. A cliché can have different meanings, next to their initial literary meaning: “to have sweaty palms” means that someone is nervous.
Colloquialisms are words used in our daily lives: kid, Adam’s ale, maggot bag etc. These words are not slang and they are used every day life in order to make a communication simpler. Moreover, it should be noted that colloquialisms are stylistic templates used in our speech to make it more comprehensible and comfortable.
Therefore, stylistic means are often used in poetry, fiction, ads, scientific texts and daily communication. Therefore, the stylistic potential of these means is immense and is focused on making our language more expressive, emotional and comprehensible.