NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1049928
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Early Spanish Grammatical Gender Bootstrapping: Learning Nouns through Adjectives
Arias-Trejo, Natalia; Alva, Elda Alicia
Developmental Psychology, v49 n7 p1308-1314 Jul 2013
Research has demonstrated that children use different strategies to infer a referent. One of these strategies is to use inflectional morphology. We present evidence that toddlers learning Spanish are capable of using gender word inflections to infer word reference. Thirty-month-olds were tested in a preferential looking experiment. Participants were shown variants of 2 unfamiliar objects; one was described as being feminine and the other as being masculine under the form of adjectives that ended either in a or o according to the most common rule of assigning gender in Spanish. Word-image associations were then assessed by presenting the 2 images together and labeling one of them with a masculine novel noun or a feminine novel noun that followed the gender contrast a/o. The data revealed that Spanish-learning children associated the novel words with the appropriate image on the basis of the morphophonological cues embedded in the previously heard adjectives. Learning grammatical gender and number may be complex in a rich morphological system such as Spanish; however, toddlers seem to benefit from the morphophonological consistency and reiteration of the system to infer novel word-object associations.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico (Mexico City)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A