ERIC Number: ED080142
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Metaphors and Modalities: How Children Project Polar Adjectives onto Diverse Domains.
The capacity to appreciate and produce metaphoric language is thought to develop at adolescence. Yet metaphors are frequently noted in the speech of preschool children. To resolve this apparent contradiction, a test probing metaphoric capacity was devised. Matched groups of subjects ranging in age from 3 1/2 to 19 were required to indicate knowledge of the literal meanings of antonymous word pairs and then to project these terms into domains where they only apply in a metaphoric way. Though there was improvement with age, preschool children demonstrated considerable ability at this task; the order of difficulty of words and domains were regular across age, except for an isolated difficulty displayed by the preschool children in projecting words onto swatches of color; reasons for matches differ markedly across ages. Whether metaphoric capacity is attributed to children appears to depend on whether the ability to select acceptable metaphors or an explicit awareness of the rationale for the metaphor is the criterion. The distinction between an operative skill and an awareness of its existence, and the preconditions for metaphoric competence are discussed. (Author)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Harvard Project Zero.
Note: Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 29 - April 1, 1973)