The Development of Figurative Meanings in Children: A Case Study of L1 'Lao'

Translated Titles



徐佩瑜(Pei-Yu Hsu);陳純音(Doris Chun-Yin Chen)

Key Words

隱喻意義 ; 語意透明度 ; 生命效應 ; 華語 ; 第一語言習得 ; metaphoricity ; transparency ; animacy ; Mandarin Chinese ; first language acquisition



Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

13卷3期(2016 / 09 / 01)

Page #

1 - 45

Content Language


Chinese Abstract


English Abstract

The present study aims to investigate Chinese-speaking children's understanding of lao, which can be interpreted both literally (as meaning "old") and non-literally in Chinese. Two comprehension tasks were conducted to examine three factors: metaphoricity, transparency and animacy. The subjects were one hundred elementary school children, between 7 and 11 years old, and they were further divided into five age groups. And twenty adults made up the adult group. The results showed that the literal meaning of lao was found easier to comprehend than its non-literal meaning. The opaque non-literal meaning of lao was more challenging than the transparent literal meaning for all the children. With regard to animacy, our children tended to comprehend lao when used in animate noun phrases (NPs) more easily than when used in inanimate NPs. Finally, the results indicate that children at age 7 could only comprehend the literal meaning of lao, and that the non-literal meanings of lao when used in both animate and inanimate NPs could not be fully acquired until age 10.

Topic Category 人文學 > 語言學
社會科學 > 教育學
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Times Cited
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