Friday, January 7, 2011

Research Archive: Figurative Language

Question: How do children develop the ability to understand figurative language?

Answer: By being exposed to it. By participating in games that involve the use of figurative language.  One particular game in the African-American community is called “soundings,” in which participants engage in mutual insults. Example: Larry: “Man, you so poor your roaches and rats eat lunch out.” Reggie: “Well, you so poor the rats and roaches take you out to lunch.”

Comment: Makes sense. I would make the most of this finding by noting in books students read the use of  figurative language. And I would note the students’ own use of it. RayS.

Title: “Cultural and Instructional Influences on Figurative Language Comprehension by Innercity Children.” A Ortony, EJ Turner, and N Larson-“Shapiro. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1985), 25-36.

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