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Investigating the Effects of Age and Frequency on Idiom Familiarity

Poelstra, Sanne (2019) Investigating the Effects of Age and Frequency on Idiom Familiarity. Bachelor's Thesis, Artificial Intelligence.


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This study investigates the influence of age and frequency on idiom recognition. While there has been previous research where participants had to explain the meaning of an idiom, recognition of idioms is still in need of more research. This is especially the case for younger children as it is not clear at which age they acquire idioms. Previous research suggests that the older a person gets the more idioms they know. This is called the language experience hypothesis. Another line of research assumes there might be an age constraint in learning idioms due to metalinguistic functioning only developing from the age of eight. To investigate this matter, Dutch primary school children (age seven and ten) and a control group of adults were tested on their idiom familiarity with a new experimental design. Participants were asked if they recognized the idiom and which age group they think would use it. The results show that there was indeed an effect of age and frequency on idiom familiarity. However this was only found for adults. There was also no significant difference in familiarity found between age seven and ten and the frequency of the idiom had no effect on familiarity either in these groups. Therefore more research is needed into recognition and the effect metalinguistic functioning and the language experience hypothesis have on it.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Rij-Tange, J.C.
Degree programme: Artificial Intelligence
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2019
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2019 13:39

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