How Adolescents Comprehend Unfamiliar Proverbs The Role of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2000
How Adolescents Comprehend Unfamiliar Proverbs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marilyn A. Nippold
    Communication Disorders and Sciences Program University of Oregon Eugene
  • Melissa M. Allen
    Communication Disorders and Sciences Program University of Oregon Eugene
  • Dixon I. Kirsch
    Communication Disorders and Sciences Program University of Oregon Eugene
  • Contact author: Marilyn A. Nippold, PhD, Communication Disorders and Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.
    Contact author: Marilyn A. Nippold, PhD, Communication Disorders and Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.×
  • Corresponding author: Email: nippold@oregon.uoregon.edu
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2000
How Adolescents Comprehend Unfamiliar Proverbs
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2000, Vol. 43, 621-630. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4303.621
History: Received July 15, 1999 , Accepted December 22, 1999
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2000, Vol. 43, 621-630. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4303.621
History: Received July 15, 1999; Accepted December 22, 1999

Typically achieving students who were 12, 15, and 18 years old (n=150) participated in this investigation. The goal was to determine the extent to which students' prior knowledge of the nouns in unfamiliar proverbs would be associated with their ability to comprehend the expressions and how the relationship between word knowledge and proverb comprehension might change during the developmental period from late childhood to late adolescence. Proverbs containing concrete nouns (e.g., "Two captains will sink a ship") (concrete proverbs) and those containing abstract nouns (e.g., "Envy is destroyed by true friendship") (abstract proverbs) were presented in a multiple-choice task designed to examine comprehension of the expressions. Knowledge of the relevant semantic features of each noun was examined in a separate multiple-choice task. Word knowledge was found to be associated with proverb comprehension in all groups—and particularly so in the case of abstract proverbs. The results support a model of proverb comprehension in adolescents that includes bottom-up in addition to top-down processes.

Acknowledgments
The authors express sincere appreciation to the children, adolescents, and adults who participated in this research project and to the teachers and school administrators who granted permission for the testing to take place and helped to schedule the sessions.
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