Down Sendromunun Kavramsal Metaforların Zihinde İşlemlenme Sürecine EtkisiBertuğ Sakın, Sümeyra Özkan, Volkan Yonarkol
Down sendromlu çocuklar sağlıklı akranlarıyla aynı dönemde ilk sözcüklerini üretmeye başlarlar ve kelime dağarcıkları da buna bağlı olarak gelişim gösterir fakat Down sendromlu çocuklarda ilerleyen dönemlerde soyut içerikli ifadeleri anlama sorunları ortaya çıkmaya başlar ve bu durum insan iletişim sisteminin önemli bir parçası olan imgesel dilin büyük bir alanını kapsayan metaforların zihinde işlemlenmesi sürecini ciddi şekilde etkilemektedir. Bu çalışmada kavramsal metaforların zihinde işlemlenmesi süreci, Down sendromu özelinde ele alınmıştır. Çalışmamızın araştırma desenini nitel araştırma yöntemlerinden durum çalışması oluşturmaktadır. Araştırmamızda metaforların zihinde işlemlenmesi sürecinin Down sendromu koşulları altındaki oluşumunun derinlemesine incelenip betimlenmesi amaçlanmaktadır. Çalışmada veri toplama aracı olarak kavramsal metaforların zihinde işlemlenme biçimini incelemek üzere yapılandırılmış sorulardan faydalanılmıştır. Uygulamalarda elde edilen veriler betimsel analiz yoluyla çözümlenerek yorumlanmıştır. Araştırma sonucunda Down sendromunun, metaforların zihinde işlemlenmesi sürecine olumsuz yönde etki ettiği, yeni metaforların Down sendromu sebebiyle daha zor algılandığı ve bu metaforları içeren uygulamalarda Down sendromlu bireylerin daha fazla hata yaptıkları, kalıplaşmış metaforlarla yapılan uygulamalarda daha başarılı oldukları, aynı kavramsal arka plana sahip metaforlarda kalıplaşmış olanlar ile yeni üretilenler ve düz anlamlı olanlar ile bozuk yapılı metaforları birbirlerine zıt olacak şekilde hatalı işlemledikleri ve özellikle yönelim metaforlarının işlemlenme sürecinde de ciddi sorunlar yaşandığı tespit edilmiştir.
The Impact of Down Syndrome on the Mental Processing of Conceptual MetaphorsBertuğ Sakın, Sümeyra Özkan, Volkan Yonarkol
Children with Down (DS) begin to produce their first words and develop vocabulary at the same time as their healthy peers. However, over the course of time, children with DS begin to experience problems with understanding abstract expressions, which affects their mental processing of metaphors that play an important role in human communication. In this paper, we conducted a qualitative case study to examine and describe how individuals with DS process metaphors. Specifically, we administered a series of structured questions to an individual with DS and used descriptive analysis for the responses. We determined through the research that DS has a negative effect on processing metaphors and that individuals with DS experience more difficulty perceiving and using new metaphors than they do formulaic ones. We also detected an inverse correlation between the incorrect usage of formulaic and new metaphors and literal and malformed metaphors in individuals with DS and observed that the biggest difficulties occur in processing orientational metaphors.
Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder resulting from an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. Along with various physical and cognitive problems, one of the important deficits in individuals with DS is language: DS is characterized by deficiencies in productive language and working memory, and individuals with DS have better receptive than productive language skills. One of the main areas in which receptive language skills play an important role is the mental processing of metaphors. Lakoff and Johnson determined that metaphors form naturally to meet everyday communication needs. Under their conceptual metaphor theory, people form some concepts through natural processes and daily experiences, and these concepts settle in their minds. Additionally, even if people are not aware of these concepts, their existence is made possible by the study of language.
Within the scope of this research, we discuss the mental processing of conceptual metaphors in the context of DS to answer the following research questions: How do individuals with DS process conceptual metaphors? What errors do they commit in processing metaphors? What is the role of DS in these existing errors? For our research, we conducted a single-participant case study, one of the qualitative research methods, to examine and describe how individuals with DS process metaphors. We collected our study data using a test with 69 structured questions featuring 23 linguistic metaphors produced from six conceptual metaphors, all of which were conceptual orientational metaphors. The test consisted of three stages: true-false assessment, meaning matching, and verbal narration. The vocabulary test used contextual fill-in-the-blank and picture matching questions. First, the participant was given new, formulaic, and malformed metaphors and metaphors with literal meaning and asked to assess them as true or false. Second, the participant was given a sample sentence containing a conceptual metaphor and asked to choose the option that best represented the meaning of the sentence. Third, the participant was asked open-ended questions about the meanings of a group of sample sentences and expressions that contained conceptual metaphors. We recorded and transcribed the answers to the structured study questions and performed descriptive analysis of the responses. Our study participant was a female 15-year-old native Turkish speaker named A.K. who had trisomy 21 type Down syndrome and a special education background.
We determined that DS has a negative effect on processing metaphors and that individuals with DS experience more difficulty perceiving and using new metaphors than they do formulaic ones. Both of these occur because individuals with DS have certain deficits in short-term memory, attention, and perception in addition to different physical disorders. Individuals with DS are more exposed to formulaic metaphors in their daily lives (at home, at school, in other institutional and social environments), and thus, they can use formulaic metaphors more effectively than other types of metaphors. We also found an inverse correlation between the incorrect usage of formulaic and new metaphors and literal and malformed metaphors in individuals with DS; this could be because another cognitive disorder known to the condition is lack of generalization ability and low perceptual discrimination.
DS also particularly negatively affects the processing of abstractly structured orientational metaphors, primarily because individuals with DS cannot fully understand the other party and lack the ability to create symbols. When A.K. was asked to define and interpret the metaphorical items, she avoided giving verbal answers and preferred to use body language instead; she also tried to give answers in the context of the closest literal denotation instead of defining the metaphors. This situation can be explained by the inadequacy of productive language skills and the challenges with perceiving abstract concepts due to DS. Individuals with DS, who cannot adequately express themselves verbally, compensate for this deficiency in productive language by using gestures, and they tend to use the closest concrete expressions when they have difficulty explaining abstract concepts. Our findings from the final test of this study showed that using context, providing additional vocabulary options and visual support, and using repetition greatly improve the successful performance of individuals with DS.