ERIC Number: ED335884
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
The Structural Sources of Verb Meaning.
Gleitman, Lila R.
A discussion of English native-language vocabulary acquisition in children takes a closer look at the assumption that vocabulary is learned by common association of word with event, focusing on the acquisition of verb meanings. The intuitive power of the view that words are learned by noticing real-world contingencies for their use is acknowledged, but it is pointed out that such mapping, unaided, is in principle insufficiently constrained to explain how the child maps verbs (as phonological objects) with their meanings. The solution offered is that semantically relevant information in the syntactic structures can rescue observational learning from experiential pitfalls. Evidence is offered that children deduce meanings from their knowledge of structural-semantic relations. Limitations in data, need for further information about cross-linguistic correspondences, and problems occurring in the analysis are briefly addressed. A 59-item bibliography is included. (MSE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 28, p1-48, Aug 1989. For the proceedings, see FL 019 336.