ERIC Number: ED327876
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Nov-16
Reference Count: N/A
Context Effects in Comprehending Familiar and Unfamiliar Proverbs.
Turner, Nigel E.; Katz, Albert N.
Conventionality can be defined as discourse used in its dominant or most familiar sense. In nonliteral language, the intended message is different from the overt message. It has been demonstrated that nonliteral language can be comprehended as rapidly as literal language if both are placed in linguistic context. A study examined whether this held true when unconventional nonliteral language is used. Respondents rated the familiarity of 119 proverbs. Literal and nonliteral contexts were generated for 12 familiar and 12 unfamiliar proverbs. Overall, familiar proverbs were read more quickly than unfamiliar ones. Furthermore, unfamiliar proverbs used in their figurative sense were read more slowly than unfamiliar proverbs used in their literal sense. A follow-up study examined the equivalency in processing of familiar and unfamiliar messages. Students were handed 32 sheets, each bearing a proverb or its paraphrase. The participants were to paraphrase the statements. A familiar proverb, even when placed in its literal context, often generated its figurative meaning, while the reverse was true of unfamiliar proverbs. It appears that some processing differences exist in comprehending literal and figurative language. (Eight figures are attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A