ERIC Number: ED364076
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
The Role of Linguistic Context in the Identification of Nouns and Verbs by Young Language Learners.
Echols, Catharine H.
A study of infant language acquisition investigated the possibility that perceptual or attentional tendencies may guide early word learning by directing infants' attention in linguistically relevant ways. In the experiment, infants aged 9 to 13 months watched a puppet show; with some children, sentences labeling either the objects (noun-frame condition) or the actions (verb-frame condition) were presented, and with others, they were not (unlabeled condition). The amount of time the infants looked at the action or looked away was measured. It was predicted that infants who were given verbs or nouns to apply to the action and objects would focus more attention on them than those for whom no labels were given. Noun-frame condition subjects paid more attention than unlabeled condition subjects. Verb-frame condition subjects paid less attention than those in the noun-frame condition but more than those in the unlabeled condition, suggesting that the noun-frame is more effective than the verb-frame, which is in turn more effective than non-labeling in directing attention to the object. These data were compared with previous, similar research. Results suggest that infants as young as 13 months are sensitive to prosodic cues to the structure of their language. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development (Boston, MA, October 23-25, 1992).