Syntactic and Conceptual Factors in Children's Understanding of Metaphors A multiple-choice listening task was designed in which 7- and 9-year-old children (n = 30 per group) were presented with nine instances of four different types of metaphoric sentences: perceptual-predicative, psychological-predicative, perceptual proportional, and psychological-proportional. When factors of memory and attention, sentence length, semantics, and novelty were controlled for, proportional ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1984
Syntactic and Conceptual Factors in Children's Understanding of Metaphors
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    University of Oregon, Eugene
  • Laurence B. Leonard
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Robert Kail
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1984
Syntactic and Conceptual Factors in Children's Understanding of Metaphors
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1984, Vol. 27, 197-205. doi:10.1044/jshr.2702.197
History: Received May 24, 1983 , Accepted October 12, 1983
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1984, Vol. 27, 197-205. doi:10.1044/jshr.2702.197
History: Received May 24, 1983; Accepted October 12, 1983

A multiple-choice listening task was designed in which 7- and 9-year-old children (n = 30 per group) were presented with nine instances of four different types of metaphoric sentences: perceptual-predicative, psychological-predicative, perceptual proportional, and psychological-proportional. When factors of memory and attention, sentence length, semantics, and novelty were controlled for, proportional metaphors proved to be significantly more difficult than predicative, but perceptual did not differ from psychological in ease of understanding. No interactions were significant. Nine-year-olds demonstrated metaphoric understanding superior to that of 7-year-olds, despite the fact that children of both ages were familiar with the underlying semantic features of the metaphors and understood all key words at a literal level. Implications for future research are discussed.

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