Bilingual Metaphor and Hybrid Identity in Hong Kong and Singapore Writings

  • Kwok-kan Tam


In its simplest definition, metaphor, as Terence Hawkes says, is figurative language that “deliberately interferes with the system of literal usage by its assumption that terms literally connected with one object can be transferred to another” (Hawkes 1972, 2). Interference may be considered a negative thing in language learning. But in language use, in speech and particularly in creative writing, interference may result in creativity. Examples of interference can be found in the bilingual learner whose performance in a second language is often interfered with by the first language. In this case, an idea from a second language being mapped onto that of a first language will create not only a new use of language but also a new metaphor that compares two contrastive domains of experiences. Although the interference of the first language is sometimes seen as negative in second language learning, it is considered creative in literary writing and is valued for its innovative use of code-mixing and code-switching in language.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kwok-kan Tam
    • 1
  1. 1.The Hang Seng University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

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