Portable meaning, or Second Life

One of the notable features of the Russian language is its ability to use words in a figurative sense.The transfer - a direct consequence of ambiguity.Words in a language can be ambiguous and multi-valued.Multi-valued is the ability of a single word denote various objects or phenomena.Values ​​ambiguous words have a common semantic core and communicate with each other.In ambiguous words have the original, or primary, the value and number of derivatives formed later.

formation of new values ​​is possible thanks to the phenomenon of migration.Linguists have established two types of transfer items.The first - the transfer by contiguity, or metonymy.For transfers of titles are characteristic of metonymy, the replacement of the whole, or vice versa.Consider some examples.

Portable meaning

direct value

wife sables

wearing a fur coat

championship gold

gold medal

class left after school

all the disciples left

blue collar


Beijing sent a note

the Chinese government

Hold your tongue

stop saying it

The second type - the transfer of the similarity, or metaphor.The two objects or phenomena stands a common symptom.These characteristics can be color, size, shape, human perception, functional purpose.We represent the direct and figurative meaning of the word.Comparative examples are given in the table below.

direct value

figurative sense


army beats


ribbon road



musician drumming

rain drumming

wolf pack

wolfish look

snowy mountain

mountain of suitcases

sawed pine

cut spouse


bitter fate

milk boil

he boiled with rage


pellet after talking

Colloquially, people often use portable meaning to enhance expressiveness, the brightness communication.Can be used the names of animals: a fox - cunning, ram - a stubborn elephant - clumsy, ant - hardworking, eagle - proud.Cases when portable values ​​over time lost their imagery and came to be regarded as direct.Portable meaning has been lost in phrases like: mushroom cap, nail-head, the bow, the leg of the chair.In modern dictionaries of the values ​​assigned to words and are listed as direct functional importance.

Perhaps the appearance of transfer factor played a role saving - human nature to facilitate their lives, and by taking as a basis for an existing word, he was looking at the world around a new phenomenon, which could describe the word.Perhaps this phenomenon to blame the human imagination.Once received from sheep's milk round piece of cheese, hostess fair to say that its shape is very similar to the head.

Portable meaning of the word is not unique to the Russian language.This phenomenon is common to many European languages.In English, for example, this language feature is a real challenge for students beginning to study it.Often, to understand the meaning of the word is possible only by context, as the word can act as different parts of speech.Nevertheless, the transfer of any language enriches, makes it imaginative, lively and juicy.