Variations in Figurative Language Use as a Function of Mode of Communication
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Various studies have demonstrated that the mode by which people communicate affects the content of their messages. The present study examines the ways in which one aspect of language use, namely figurative language, differs as a function of mode of communication. Subjects worked together in pairs to build a small household appliance, with an “expert” directing a novice in the construction. Subjects communicated in one of four modes: full copresence, separated by a screen, through an intercom system, or through e-mail. Differences between modes were found on a number of measures of figurative language types, including what the author has described as “interrogative analogies”. These differences are discussed in terms of costs, constraints, and affordances associated with different media, and the role figurative language plays in communication.
Keywordsfigurative language communication mode on-line education.
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