Metaphoric Period
Nineteenth century thinkers such as Max Müller, Herbert Spencer, and J. G. Frazer all postulated a presumed stage in the development of language which Barfield calls "the metaphorical period," a stage during which inner, or immaterial language was formed out of the already given outer, or material language. For Müller, the end result of the metaphorical period was the creation of mythology, that "disease of language" in which men set about projecting their inner, metaphorically created world back onto the blank screen of the natural order of things (see SM 86).

Barfield finds such a conception a blatant example of logomorphism in action, as he makes apparent in the following reductio ad absurdum refutation (from "The Meaning of Literal") of the hypothesis.

    I am a primitive man, who has just become aware of a sort of immaterial something within me, but I have no word for it. In my experience up to now, it is not even the sort of thing for which there are words. What I have got available is a bunch of strictly literal labels for things like sun, moon, cloud, rock, river, wind, etc. None of these words has any immaterial overtone at all. That is an essential condition, for otherwise they would not be literal (as born literals are assumed to be literal): they would already be vehicles with a tenor. The word for wind, for example, means to me simply what we today call air or oxygen, the physical stuff that keeps on coming into and going out of me. I now take the step of substituting my word for, and with it my thought of, wind for my wordless thought of the sort of something. That is the picture.

    And of course it is an impossible one. (RM 40)

See in particular "Subject and Object in the History of Meaning" (SM 92-118), Saving the Appearances, Chap. XVII.