“The elevator’s buttocks”

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Classic studies suggest that metaphor production and comprehension are relatively late developing pragmatic skills, although it is not quite clear why this should be so. This chapter will first provide a sketch of the theoretical and adult processing accounts of metaphor before presenting an overview of the established findings on children’s metaphorical abilities that indicate that these are slow to emerge. The third section examines impeding factors to be taken into account when considering these data, while in the fourth it is argued, based on recent empirical evidence, that when these factors are eliminated, children display both early comprehension and production of metaphors. In the conclusion, I will point to some future directions of research emerging from this outline of the metaphor development landscape.


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