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Mary Elizabeth Neff - Exploring the literal bias in children’s metaphor comprehension development

Mary Beth is a first year PhD fellow at the department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas (IFIKK). She is working under the supervision of Ingrid Lossius Falkum (as part of the DEVCOM project) and her PhD is on the literal bias in children’s figurative language development. Mary Beth holds a MAS from the University of Basel and has recently rejoined academia after working as a Senior Science Advisor for the NZ Department of Conservation.

The talk will be given in English.

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If you were to stub your toe and say ‘Ah - my toe is on fire!’ children would likely take that to mean that your toe is literally on fire. This observed literalism in tasks on children’s metaphor comprehension has often been attributed to children’s inability to forgo literal meaning until later in development. However, this contradicts findings showing children’s general pragmatic competencies, where even by 2 years, children demonstrate the ability to infer intended meaning above and beyond what is explicitly said. In this talk, I will be discussing proposed research exploring why—despite their general pragmatic competence—children appear to have difficulties forgoing the literal meaning of novel metaphorical statements.

This is an open event. If you would like to receive information about upcoming events, you can register to the clinical forum mailing list here. You may also contact the organizers Helene KillmerAne Theimann or Sarah Cameron for more information.

Tags: Language acquisition, Metaphor comprehension, Pragmatic competence
Published Apr. 29, 2022 11:45 AM - Last modified Apr. 29, 2022 11:49 AM