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ERIC Number: ED550221
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 164
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-1728-0
The Effect of Naming Systems on the Acquisition of and Reasoning about Time Concepts
Liu, Nian
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Languages encode time-related concepts, like days of the week (DOW) and months of the year (MOY), in different ways. Some use numerical labels (e.g., in Chinese, Monday is "weekday one"; January is "month one") while others use arbitrary names (e.g., English). This project investigates whether languages that use numerical terms provide an advantage to their speakers, both as children acquiring the temporal terms of the language and as adults reasoning about time, when compared to speakers of languages that use arbitrary symbols to encode time-related terms. The project first tests whether a numerical naming system facilitates children's acquisition of time sequences, comparing the behavior of monolingual children who speak Chinese (numerical day- and month-systems), English (non-numerical systems), Latvian (a mix of systems), and Korean (a mix of systems). The results show that (1) Chinese monolingual children comprehend and use time words earlier overall than English monolingual children; (2) in Latvian, which has numerical DOW names but arbitrary MOY names, children acquire day-names earlier than month-names; (3) in Korean, which has numerical MOY names and arbitrary DOW names, children acquire month-names earlier than day-names. Second, two behavioral experiments test whether Chinese- and English-speaking adults' time calculation abilities are influenced by their languages' naming systems. The results are consistent with the view that Chinese and English speakers are using different strategies in online processing of calendrical questions. This dissertation research offers a new piece of evidence for the pervasive influence of language on thought, in the specific domain of cognition of time, by showing that the way calendars are coded can have a substantial effect on the employment of strategies in non-linguistic problem-solving processes. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A