Publication details [#5676]

Heaney, Liam F. 1995. The essence of language: Metaphorically speaking.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


Following a local 'ideal home' exhibition, which attracted thousands of visitors, a close friend suggested that the police and traffic wardens were having a field day giving tickets to illegally parked motorists. The phrase 'having a field day' was cleverly chosen given its various meanings and associations. It conjures up notions of outdoors, of excitement, of planned manoeuvres and dare one say, it creates an image of authority expressing or asserting its power with a certain pleasure, triumph and glee. In other words, the phrase or analogy extends one's range of thinking, over and above the mere fact that parking tickets were being issued to scores of motorists, an event which is perhaps mundane or even commonplace. This is one example, but analogies and comparisons are part of our everyday language. They add meaning, variety and a richness to language. Arguably, the most important means whereby we extend our understanding of everyday life is through metaphor. (From the Introduction)