What does that mean? 你真的瞭解這個慣用語嗎?

Imagery buries itself in language and takes on new meaning. The transplanted and transformed word or set of words is called a “figure of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the word or phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“The black-and-white soccer ball ricocheted off the tree and hopscotched across the lawn like the half-dozen laughing children trailing it.”

Hopscotch is a game played by children in which a small object—a wood chip, a hat, a coin—is tossed into one of several linked spaces marked out on the ground or pavement, with the child hopping space by space through the maze to eventually retrieve the object. The hopping is on one foot or two, depending on the layout. The game is appealing to children because it is energetic, requires agility, is competitive, and can be enjoyed by one player or many. The game has been around for several hundred years at least and variations of it are played worldwide.

When the writer writes that the ball “hopscotched” across the lawn, he joined several themes. First, its bouncing movement mirrored the bouncing of children playing hopscotch. Second, the word is almost solely used in a light-hearted way, which is the province of children. Third, the writer was able to tie together the ball and the children by indicating both of them were hopscotching, the ball from physics, the children from merriment. A weaker sentence would have said the ball bounded, or retreated, or something else less universally child-oriented.


Posted at 2012-11-16 12:53:18

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