Articles  |   September 1988
Explanation of Ambiguous Advertisements
Article Information
Articles   |   September 1988
Explanation of Ambiguous Advertisements
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1988, Vol. 31, 466-474. doi:10.1044/jshr.3103.466
History: Received September 17, 1987 , Accepted January 11, 1988
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 1988, Vol. 31, 466-474. doi:10.1044/jshr.3103.466
History: Received September 17, 1987; Accepted January 11, 1988

Explanation of linguistic ambiguity occurring in a naturalistic context was examined for children and adolescents at various ages. Subjects ages 9 through 18 were asked to explain the meanings of 14 ambiguous advertisements taken from recent magazines, newspapers, and brochures. All of the ads were lexically ambiguous and contained a word or phrase that had both a physical and a psychological meaning (e.g., "Introducing the Upper Crusts. Two sensational new entrees from Stouffer's"). Results were that older subjects explained the meanings correctly more frequently than younger subjects, although adolescents who were 18-years-old did not perform perfectly. It was also found that the psychological meanings of the ads were more difficult to explain than the physical meanings. The results were interpreted in relation to previous developmental studies of ambiguity involving sentences, jokes, and riddles , and Studies of figurative language explanation.

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