ERIC Number: ED261360
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Contextual and Linguistic Factors in Children's Comprehension of Nonliteral Language. Technical Report No. 340.
The linguistic form of a nonliteral expression, and the context in which it occurs, can greatly influence young children's succcess or failure in assigning a meaning to a figurative expression. Experiments have shown that the same metaphorical expression can be easier to understand when expressed in a linguistic form that is familiar to young children, and thus more likely to be known given the limited linguistic knowledge of the young child. Because of this limited knowledge, children depend heavily on contextual information when they assign a meaning to a linguistic input. By hearing and trying to make sense out of metaphorical language in a variety of contexts, children can gradually become aware of the different uses of nonliteral language and of the variety of meanings they might express. In addition, the relationship between the contextual information and the linguistic input can affect the information processing requirements of the comprehension task and thus facilitate or hinder comprehension. Furthermore, experiments have demonstrated that what matters is not so much whether a given metaphorical sentence is expressed as a simile or as a metaphor, or whether it is more or less predictable on the basis of the context, but rather the level of difficulty of that metaphorical sentence. (HOD)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).