In the field of Modern Languages and Linguistics, words are of great importance. A language’s phonology (study of how sounds are organized and used), morphology (study of the form and structure of words), syntax (study of the rules that govern sentence structure), semantics (study of meaning of words, sentences, and expressions), pragmatics (study of aspects of meaning and language use and context), and phonetics (study of human speech sounds) all play an important part in everyday life. These have a major impact in understanding the intent of what is spoken or heard. Due to the importance of communication, literary elements such as metaphors (which are defined as a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea that is used in place of another to suggest a likeness between them), takes on greater cultural significance. This is especially true of the Spanish language.
In American culture the use of everyday metaphors such as the “neck of the woods”, meaning a region or neighborhood (Answers.com) can be difficult to understand by those learning English as a Second language. Literal translations can become very confusing. While coming to the realization that some sayings such as “rolling in dough” do not literally mean to roll about in pastry, it might take awhile for some to equate this with its true meaning - to have an overabundance or surplus of money. American culture is comprised of a melding of influences from diverse cultures, many of which are from Spanish origins. As such, some metaphors, like “light of my life” which means a person who is regarded very fondly (WordReference.com) have similar meanings in both English and Spanish.
Today over 40 million Spanish speaking people reside in the United States. They have migrated from a variety of different countries and all have brought their distinct ideologies, beliefs and cultures. Through the study of aspects of their language and literature much can be learned about the people. Hispanic identity and culture are connected with their language and literature therefore metaphors are meaningful.
Due to the diversity of the Hispanic culture, some metaphors have varying points of origin although the meanings are the same. There is, for instance, the saying, “De tal...