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ERIC Number: ED369497
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Structural Limits on Verb Mapping.
Fisher, Cynthia
This study examined children's acquisition of language by means of correlating spoken words and observed objects and actions. The common sense view of word learning via observation applies easily to learning nouns for objects, but becomes problematic in the process of learning verbs. When they encounter novel verbs applied to observed situations, children are able to infer meaning using cues from word order and may be able to infer meaning using cues based on the transitivity of the verb and on the preposition that is used with the verb. In two experiments, 3- and 5-year-old children were shown videos of novel agent-patient and donor-recipient actions, along with descriptive sentences that contained transitive and intransitive nonsense verbs, and nonsense verbs with the prepositions "from" and "to." Then the children were asked to identify the agents of the actions. Found that, for agent-patient events described by sentences with transitive verbs, children were able to identify the agent almost all the time, but for agent-patient events described by sentences with intransitive verbs, children were able to identify the agent only about half the time. (ME)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A