ERIC Number: ED163784
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Aug
If a Tree Had a Knee, Where Would it Be? Children's Performance on Simple Spatial Metaphors. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 13.
The work described in this paper was undertaken to study children's ability to preserve semantic relations during analogical mappings. Two experiments are described based on the understanding that metaphors and analogies are mappings from one semantic region (the domain of origin) to another (the range of application), which convey the idea that certain semantic relationships in the domain exist in the range. In the first experiment, ten preschool children, ten first-grade children and ten college sophomores were asked to map body-parts (domain) onto trees and mountains (range objects) using both connected and discrete modes of mapping. Children generally performed as well as the adults indicating that basic analogical ability is well developed in preschool children. The tasks and procedures in the second experiment were like those in the first one but the subjects were eight children aged 7-9 and eight university students. Again, the children performed as well as the adults and there is no evident developmental trend. It is concluded that the ability to perceive similar relationships between different entities is present early in language develoment. The only significant developmental change is in the area of creative speech, that is, the ability to avoid familiar comparisons and to map simultaneously many different relationships. (AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.