When a speaker is trying to express something that does not have the right representation is his language or even environment, they use something resembling an analogy or a metaphor. For example, tribes that had never seen a railroad before may call it an "iron horse" because they don't even have a concept of a railroad. Is there a better word for this figure of speech or the process itself?

Edit: another example. Imagine that people from some primitive culture witnessed a landing of a spacecraft and saw astronauts coming out of it. To describe what they saw they would have to say something like "A shining boat descended from the sky and gods in shiny furs came out of it" because they have no notion of space travel or clothes made of anything but fur. Maybe "primitive metaphor" is the right way call this? Or is there a better word?

  • Can you add an example sentence to help clarify (it's required under the site rules). Otherwise you're likely to get closed, and it's an interesting question. – jimm101 Feb 12 at 15:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.