Figure and Fantasy in Children’s Language

Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive Development book series (SSCOG)


This chapter concerns the development of two types of understanding: understanding of metaphors and understanding of fantasy-based language. Both metaphorical and fantasy-based language are figurative in the sense that they involve unconventional interpretations. In lieu of the more detailed definitions of memory and fantasy-based language given below, I offer some examples for the purpose of preliminary discussion. Speaking conventionally, we can call a tabby a “cat,” but we speak figuratively if we refer to Maggie of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as a “cat”; this use of “cat” to describe a woman is metaphorical. Similarly, referring to a collie as a “dog” is conventional usage, whereas referring to the cartoon character Huckleberry Hound as a “dog” is fantasy-based language.


Literal Interpretation Symbolic Play Figurative Language Domain Distance Critical Sentence 
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