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ERIC Number: ED262567
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
When "Big" Does Not Refer to Overall Size: Dimensional Adjectives in Context.
Gelman, Susan A.; And Others
Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, v24 p62-69 Aug 1985
Two experiments examining adults' use of dimensional adjectives focused specifically on the distinction made between height and overall size as determiners of "bigness." The subjects in both experiments were college students. In the first, the hypothesis that the meaning of "big" shifts as a function of the object being described was tested. The subjects were asked to judge the size of symmetrical and tall rectangles and line drawings of people. It was predicted that they would be more likely to emphasize height in people but area in rectangles. The results were clear and in accord with the prediction. In the second experiment, subjects were asked to judge either the bigness or the area of figures of people. It was predicted that, if height bias in the first experiment was due to a perceptual problem, the subjects would answer alike in the two conditions ("big" and "area"). However, if "big" does not refer to area, the subjects would show more of a height bias when judging bigness than when judging area. The results again suggested that the adjective "big" as applied to figures does not refer to overall area. Theories of semantic development must deal with the variability of meanings across contexts. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A