Acquiring Figurative Meanings

The conference brings together researchers from different fields and theoretical backgrounds who work on figurative language development and related topics. 

Keynote speakers

  • Eve Clark (Stanford University)

  • Herbert Colston (University of Alberta)

  • Penny Pexman (University of Calgary)

  • Nausicaa Pouscoulous (UCL)

  • Gabriella Rundblad (King's College London)

  • Deirdre Wilson (UCL/CSMN)

Conference description

A central question in the field of developmental pragmatics is how children learn to understand and use figurative expressions, such as metaphor (She is my sunshine), metonymy (The violin is late for rehearsal) and irony ([on a rainy day] Lovely weather today!). Figurative language is challenging for children because what is said (the ‘literal’ meaning) differs from what is communicated (the figurative meaning). Previous developmental studies indicate that children understand metaphors and metonyms before ironical utterances. This difference is not explained by the standard pragmatic account that analyzes all kinds of figurative language as conversational implicatures triggered by blatant violations of the Maxim of Quality (Grice, 1967). However, contemporary pragmatic theories, which consider irony a form of echoic use (Wilson & Sperber, 1981, 2012) or pretense (Clark & Gerrig, 1984), set irony clearly apart from other kinds of figurative uses such as metaphor and metonymy.

The aim of the conference is to bring together researchers from different fields and theoretical backgrounds who work on figurative language development and related topics. One central question is whether metaphor, metonymy, irony and other kinds of figurative uses have a similar developmental trajectory and are processed in similar ways. We especially encourage papers that link theoretical and empirical research, for instance by conducting theoretically informed empirical studies or by empirically testing and comparing the predictions of existing pragmatic theories.

 

Registration

Participation in the conference is free, but requires registration.

Register here

 

Conference program

Download the full program (pdf)

 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

08:45-09:00 

Registration and coffee 

09:00-10:00 

Keynote 

Deirdre Wilson: Explaining figurative utterances: A relevance theory perspective

10:00-11:00 

Ingrid Falkum & Franziska Köder: Metonymy and irony acquisition: Evidence from eye-tracking and picture selection

11:00-11:15 

Coffee 

11:15-11:45 

Márta Szücs & Anna Babarczy: Metapragmatic awareness training improves irony comprehension in young children but at a cost 

11:45-12:15 

Maity Siqueira: On the development of a comprehensive figurative language test 

12:15-13:15 

Lunch break 

13:15-14:15 

Keynote:

Gabriella Rundblad: Thoughts on atypical figurative language comprehension

14:15-14:45 

Ditte Boeg Thomsen: Irony understanding in young schoolchildren with autism or typical development 

14:45-15:15 

Francesca Panzeri, Beatrice Giustolisi & Laura Zampini: Irony comprehension in individuals with Down Syndrome 

15:15-15:30 

Coffee 

15:30-16:30 

Poster session with lightning talks 

16:30-17:30 

Keynote

Penny Pexman: Eyegaze and reaching reveal children’s grasp of ironic intent

19:00 

Conference dinner 

 Friday, October 6, 2017

09:00-10:00   

Keynote

Eve Clark: Perspective-taking, pretend-play, and figurative usage in young children

10:00-10:30 

Line Sjøtun Helganger: ‘The ironical tone of voice’ from an intonological perspective

10:30-10:45 

Coffee

10:45-11:15 

Justine Paris: Assessing the development of children’s figurative language production: the case of a longitudinal study and a semi-guided protocol 

11:15-11:45 

Ruth Kessler & Claudia Friedrich: Lexical Processing of Idioms in Children and Adults 

11:45-12:15

Sara D. Beck & Andrea Weber: Reading idioms literally and figuratively: The effects of literality and context on L2 idiom processing 

12:15-13:30 

Lunch break 

13:30-14:30 

Keynote:

Nausicaa Pouscoulous: Developing pragmatic competence: super toddlers vs. sluggish verbal kids?

14:30-15:00 

Mingling Xia: The ideas we sometimes buy: processing conventional metaphorical expressions by Chinese learners of English 

15:00-15:30

Catrine Bang Nilsen: L2 figurative language processing: can individual differences in working memory capacity explain variation in Norwegian learner’s interpretation of metaphors in French as a foreign language? 

15:30-16:00 

Coffee 

16:30-17:00

Simona Di Paola, Filippo Domaneschi & Nausicaa Pouscoulous: Metaphorical Developing Minds: The role of multiple Factors in the Development of Metaphor Comprehension

16:00-17:00

Keynote:

Herbert Colston: What do Children Know and When do They Know it?: Figurative Thought and Language in Acquisition/Development

Poster presentations

  • Fatma Ismail: A developmental cognitive-pragmatic approach to children's comprehension of noliteral meaning 
  • Drasko Kascelan, Napoleon Katsos & Jenny Gibson: Metaphor Processing and Comprehension in Monolingual and Bilingual Children with High and Low Levels of Autistic Traits 
  • Maria Loktionova: Inferential language in Russian children with autism spectrum disorder: Mental state verbs and their degrees of certainty
  • Zsuzsanna Schnell: Levels of mentalization and pragmatic equivalents: Bird’s eye view on preschoolers‘ Metaphor Humor and Irony processing 
  • Vera Hukker, Esther de Raad, Iris Scholten, Eva Smidt, Mara van der Ploeg, Femke van Dijk & Petra Hendriks: The recognition of irony and white lies in children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Published Mar. 16, 2017 10:38 AM - Last modified Oct. 5, 2017 10:43 AM