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Implied Metaphor the basis of language.--A great part of our ordinary language, all that relates to the relations of invisible things, necessarily consists of implied metaphors; for we can only describe invisible relations by means of visible ones. We are in the habit of assuming the existence of a certain proportion or analogy between the relations of the mind and those of the body. This analogy is the foundation of all words that express mental and moral qualities. For example, we do not know how a thought suggests itself suddenly to the mind, but we do know how an external object makes itself felt by the body. Experience teaches us that anything which strikes the body makes itself suddenly felt. Analogy suggests that whatever is suddenly perceived comes in the same way into contact with the mind. Hence the simile--"As a stone strikes the body, so a thought makes itself perceptible to the mind." This simile may be compressed into the full metaphor thus, "The thought struck my mind," or into the implied metaphor thus, "This is a striking thought." In many words that express immaterial objects the implied metaphor can easily be traced through the derivation, as in "excellence," "tribulation," "integrity," "spotlessness," &c. N.B. The use of metaphor is well illustrated in words that describe the effects of sound. Since the sense of hearing (probably in all nations and certainly among the English) is less powerful and less suggestive of words than the senses of sight, taste, and touch, the poorer sense is compelled to borrow a part of its vocabulary from the richer senses. Thus we talk of "a sweet voice," "a soft whisper," "a sharp scream," "a piercing shriek," and the Romans used the expression "a dark-coloured voice,"1 where we should say "a rough voice."
1 "Vox fusca."
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