Understanding of idiomatic expressions in context in skilled and less skilled comprehenders: online processing and interpretation

Oakhill, Jane, Cain, Kate and Nesi, Barbara (2016) Understanding of idiomatic expressions in context in skilled and less skilled comprehenders: online processing and interpretation. Scientific Studies of Reading, 20 (2). pp. 124-139. ISSN 1088-8438

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Abstract

This article reports a study in which good and poor comprehenders (in 2 age groups: 8- and 10-year-olds) read short passages containing phrases that could be interpreted as idiomatic or not, depending on the context. Familiarity was manipulated by including real (English) idioms and novel (translations of Italian) idioms. Reading times for the target phrases were measured and the children’s understanding of the target expressions was assessed. The older children and better comprehenders were more likely to interpret idiomatic phrases correctly. In particular, there was an interaction between age and meaning condition: The younger children were less able to choose an appropriate interpretation of the figurative expressions. In general, children spent relatively more time reading the idiomatic expressions than the literal ones, with the exception of less skilled comprehenders when presented with novel (Italian) idioms. They seemed not to appreciate that these expressions needed any particular effort for interpretation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2016 16:02
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 16:28
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/59732

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