Metaphor

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  • Metaphor is key to a full-fledged expression and understanding of any abstract concept. As such, its mastery constitutes an important milestone for both linguistic and conceptual development. Previous developmental work on metaphor primarily focused on two types of metaphors: perceptual metaphors that convey feature-based similarities between objects (e.g., a balloon is like a lollipop) and structural metaphors that convey relational mappings between conceptual domains (e.g., temperature-to-personality, such as the manager is lukewarm). The typical developmental progression in children's metaphorical abilities begins with the emergence of perceptual metaphors in the first few years of life soon after children begin to produce their first words, followed by the onset of more complex structural metaphors beginning around age 5 and extending all the way to the middle-school years.

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