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Linguistic Skills and Socioeconomic Status: Two Oft Forgotten Factors in Child Metaphor Comprehension

Pouscoulous, Nausicaa; Perovic, Alexandra; (2023) Linguistic Skills and Socioeconomic Status: Two Oft Forgotten Factors in Child Metaphor Comprehension. Children , 10 (12) , Article 1847. 10.3390/children10121847. Green open access

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Abstract

Metaphor understanding can be tricky for children until mid-childhood, yet some research suggests that pre-schoolers are already competent. Many factors have been proposed to play a role in the development of metaphor comprehension. In this study we focus on two obvious contenders that have been overlooked in recent years: general language skills and socioeconomic status (SES). Two-hundred and seventy-two children, aged from 2;11 to 11;04 (146 girls) were recruited from 21 British schools and nurseries. Their SES was established using a composite measure linked to school location, while general language skills were assessed using a standardised measure of vocabulary comprehension. Novel metaphor comprehension was tested with a simple reference assignment task. Our study confirms that children interpret novel metaphors confidently from the age of 4. Our findings indicate that novel metaphor understanding is associated with age and, importantly, that it is linked to vocabulary skills, as well as SES, but not gender. These two factors should therefore be considered in future research on metaphor development, as well as intervention and education.

Type: Article
Title: Linguistic Skills and Socioeconomic Status: Two Oft Forgotten Factors in Child Metaphor Comprehension
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/children10121847
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/children10121847
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Metaphor; vocabulary; general language skills; socioeconomic status; gender; pragmatic development
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10183284
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