Introduction Developmental psychology has so far studied pragmatic acquisition with a number of methods, highlighting typical developmental patterns. Quite recently, pragmatic impairments in clinical samples with language disturbances (Developmental Language Disorders, acquired aphasias, early focal lesions, Eisele et al., 1998, Bates, 2004), have gained much attention, similarly to the well known linguistic difficulties affecting those samples. In fact, clinicians sense that pragmatic difficulties, differently from syntactical, morphological, lexical and phonological difficulties, escape routine neuro-linguistic assessment. They report clinical observations attesting to the impact that, in those clinical populations, subtle linguistic impairments have on social and interpersonal functioning well after that grammatical skills have been reliably acquired. Clinical neuropsychologists and speech therapists are therefore concerned that pragmatic skills be overlooked in linguistic rehabilitation programs. At the same time, they pinpoint that validated tests to appreciate systematically pragmatics are still lacking. So, standardisation and validation of clinical tests reveal to be essential. Objective This contribution, aiming to meet such clinical needs, presents with the preliminary results of a validation study on a new pragmatics test, formed by 6 subscales. The focus will be on verbal, visual metaphor and idiom understanding, and prosodic comprehension. Firstly, the results will be discussed with regard to the typical developmental trends. It is still in progress the analysis of the performances by a clinical sample of 8 children with ACC, which is a rare pathology affecting the communication between the hemispheres and liable to linguistic and pragmatic difficulties. Materials and Methods. Participants, Procedure 143 children from 6 to 14, were administered 10 verbal and 10 visual metaphors (a verbal metaphor represented in a line drawing alongside with 3 drawings, one being the literal meaning and two incorrect answers), and 10 idioms. Children were asked to explain the metaphors in their words. Answers were classified as correct or not, by two judges agreeing on the criterions and going through discussion to settle possible discordant judgments. Then, 12 sentences pronounced with different emotional prosodies (happy, neutral, sad) were listened and classified by the participants. Results Results show that understanding of metaphors, either verbal or visual, and idioms increases with age. In detail, there is a continuous, linear increase in verbal metaphor, with a fast rate from 1st to 4rth degree, and then a slightly shallower increase. In visual metaphors, increase is shallower than verbal metaphors, but the task results to be easier than verbal one, in that performances are higher since the first degree. Finally, idiom understanding is quite shallow and always at lower levels than metaphors. As to emotional prosody understanding, increase appears again to be linear and earlier than in all the other subscales, in that at the first degree children already pass half the items. Overall, it appears that sensitivity to emotional prosody is already acquired by the beginning of elementary schools, while implicit and somehow conventional meaning conveyed in metaphor is grasped later in childhood, and only then the ability to understand idioms emerges. To resume, although there is need to encompass in systematic assessment of pragmatics lexical references, implications and presuppositions as the core features of pragmatics, it is worth noting that the subscales used in the study appears to be a promising tool for clinical applications. Also, non literal, mentalistic and linguistic reasoning in children should be assessed in all clinical populations alongside with the well known syntactic and morphological skills, in that the ability to get beyond literal meaning of linguistic statements is essential in interpersonal, linguistically mediated, life.
De Fabritiis, P., Tavano, A., Pozzoli, S., Borgatti, R., & Fabbro, F. (2005). Validation study on a test of metaphor, idiom and prosodic comprehension in Italian children aged from 6 to 14: preliminary results. In IPRA abstracts.
|Citazione:||De Fabritiis, P., Tavano, A., Pozzoli, S., Borgatti, R., & Fabbro, F. (2005). Validation study on a test of metaphor, idiom and prosodic comprehension in Italian children aged from 6 to 14: preliminary results. In IPRA abstracts.|
|Tipo:||abstract + slide|
|Carattere della pubblicazione:||Scientifica|
|Titolo:||Validation study on a test of metaphor, idiom and prosodic comprehension in Italian children aged from 6 to 14: preliminary results|
|Autori:||De Fabritiis, P.; Tavano, A.; Pozzoli, S.; Borgatti, R.; Fabbro, F.|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2005|
|Nome del convegno:||International Conference of Pragmatics|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02 - Intervento a convegno|