Studying how children cope with non-literal uses of language
The expression and comprehension of communicative intentions, known as pragmatic abilities, underlie language use and understanding and develop early. Young children use language creatively to express themselves and achieve their means, and understand the intentions of others. However, at the same time, they may show difficulties in the understanding of others’ uses of non-literal language. The EU-funded DEVCOM project aims to develop an understanding of how children’s communicative abilities develop, its stages, and how children’s pragmatic reasoning with non-literal uses is influenced by their learning of the conventional meanings of words. Innovative methodologies will be used, combining explicit and implicit measures, to highlight what helps or disturbs children in their proper use and understanding of non-literal language.
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