Figurative Speech

Figurative speech is used in everyday conversation. Expressions such as “take it with a grain of salt” are used often in language, yet seem to have no literal meaning. Differing judgments of the meanings of figurative speech can be used to establish how different people interpret what they hear. People understand figurative language as having varying levels of literality, depending on how individuals make sense of the expressions. The various kinds of figurative language “are seen as being differentially literal depending on people's conception of literal meaning”.


Language refers to the human ability to communicate using complex, predetermined systems and rules. Language is uniquely human and of much higher complexity than other species’ forms of communication, as it involves relating symbols to their particular meanings. As language has evolved, human brains have evolved and expanded to accommodate the various processes involved in communication. Consciousness is an important element of language, as it is used to differentiate between current and new information.

Facial Communication

Humans have evolved to communicate face-to-face, which allows emotions and intentions to be inferred from nonverbal facial cues. Face-to-face communication also benefits the people who are speaking, as their own facial cues make it easier for other parties to understand their speech. Communication and task performance in face-to-face situations, where individuals can see and hear one another, show more efficient dialogue as opposed to voice-only communication. In the latter, more words are spoken to compensate for information that cannot be drawn from facial cues.

Classification of Colors

Although different languages classify the color spectrum in different ways, scientists have determined that "the diversity of human color systems was built on a universal infrastructure, one almost certainly linked to structures in the brain." Black and white are the most basic colors in all color systems. "The contrast between black and white is found in the color systems of all languages," and a universal pattern exists for the addition of color terms to the system after black and white (red, then yellow and/or green, then blue, etc.).

Age Terms

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