Researchers and educators of the deaf often suggest that deaf children have a particular problem in understanding metaphorical uses of natural language. This paper reports two experiments whose results are incompatible with this view. Profoundly deaf children were presented with several short stories and were instructed to select (from a set of 4 alternatives) the sentence they thought best completed the story. In Experimental 1 deaf children ranging in age from 9 to 17 years clearly demonstrated their ability to understand novel metaphorical uses of English. In Experiment 2, 14 year old deaf children who were given feedback on four initial practice items selected the correct metaphorical alternative significantly more often than those who saw no practice items. The conclusion is that deaf children probably do not suffer from some special deficiency uniquely associated with metaphor.
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