Looking for and making sense of ‘special’ words
Metaphor recognition and interpretation by schoolchildren
Metaphor research with children has focused primarily on metaphor comprehension particularly exploring the type of mapping(s) involved, the knowledge of domains, and age related aspects with the emerging insight that even young children can already interpret metaphor provided they have sufficient domain knowledge and metalinguistic and metacognitive skills. In general however these studies have not sufficiently taken into account that metaphor is a phenomenon of language.
This investigation takes a novel approach, widening the scope of analysis of children metaphor interpretation in written language by relating this to age, as explored in earlier research, and reading comprehension whilst also looking at metaphor properties and metaphor recognition. The use of the three dimensional model of metaphor in language, thought, and communication brings a new perspective to metaphor studies with children and points towards possibilities to help them to reflect on the structure and purpose of a text and to become better readers, comprehenders and producers of language. A special feature is that it concerns Spanish speaking children, a language in which metaphor research is almost absent. It is also the first study that explores the presence of nominal (A is B) and verbal metaphors in Spanish texts from literature and science intended for children.
This publication may be of particular interest to psychologists involved in language development, scholars implementing metaphor research with children and teachers of language, as they may find new ideas and challenges to further the learning about metaphor understanding and children language development.