Friday, June 24, 2005

The Extra Work of Multiple Word Meanings and Word Play

This figure shows you the extra work with multiple word meanings. Although sometimes we see parents or teachers who are concerned that a child's difficulty in getting jokes is due to autism, it takes a lot more brain work to figure out words that have several possible meanings, and it is also an ability that improves with age.

We just excerpted two key figures, but the main point to notice is that ambiguous words take more 'frontal' activity and right hemispheric activity- keeping different possibilities in mind, generating alternatives, and then choosing one on the basis of the best fit or pattern. Many children have difficulty with figuring out word meanings - sometimes it is developmental, sometimes it is attentional or memory related, and it can occur in many different kids with language challenges.

Multiple word meanings come up all the time in English, and we probably need to quiz kids more to see if they really understand the meaning. Some of the links below may be helpful to some of you. Word play sites are also good practice for speech fluency, prosody, and of course, just for fun.

Ambiguous Words and fMRI
Multiple Word Meanings-Elementary
Powerpoint Elementary Multiple Word Meanings
List Multiple Meanings
Fun With Words
Puns@Web English Teacher

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