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Academic Paper


Title: On learning to draw the distinction between physical and metaphorical motion: is metaphor an early emerging cognitive and linguistic capacity?
Author: Şeyda Özçalişkan
Institution: Georgia State University
Linguistic Field: Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Situated within the framework of the conceptual metaphor theory (Lakoff & Johnson, 1999), this study investigated young children's understanding of metaphorical extensions of spatial motion. Metaphor was defined as a conceptual-linguistic mapping between a source and a target domain. The study focused on metaphors that are structured by the source domain of motion in space (e.g. time flies by, ideas pass through one's mind, sickness crawls through one's body). The study investigated whether metaphor comprehension varied by the age of the participant, target domain of the metaphorical mapping, and the conventionality of the linguistic form with which the metaphor was conveyed. Data were gathered using a story comprehension task and a semi-structured interview from 60 monolingual Turkish-speaking children, at the mean ages 3;6, 4;5 and 5;5 (20 participants per age group), and 20 adult native speakers of Turkish. The results showed metaphor understanding to be an early emerging cognitive and linguistic capacity.

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This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 32, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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