1 Citation (Scopus)


Metaphor acquisition research has focused mostly on metaphor comprehension in monolingual children. Ours is the first study to examine metaphor production in young bilinguals. A quantitative method was employed whereby sixty-two children aged three to six, with English and Polish, were tested on their ability to produce primary (e.g., a long day) and perceptual resemblance metaphors (e.g., You’re my sunshine) in response to elicitation tasks. A univariate ANOVA revealed that the main factors to affect the production of conventional metaphors in bilingual children are their chronological age and their verbal skills in both English and Polish. No significant effect was found for nonverbal IQ, metaphor type, or testing language. These results are discussed in the context of both Conceptual Metaphor Theory, which has been concerned with the study of primary (and other conceptual) metaphors, and Structure Mapping Theory, which has focused on the use of perceptual resemblance metaphors. Usage-Based Theory is brought in to explain lexical effects in metaphor production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1162486
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • metaphor
  • production
  • bilingual
  • acquisition
  • English
  • Polish


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