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ERIC Number: EJ1107093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0142-7237
If It's Red, It's Not Vap: How Competition among Words May Benefit Early Word Learning
Yoshida, Hanako; Hanania, Rima
First Language, v33 n1 p3-19 Feb 2013
One of the most prominent issues in early cognitive and linguistic development concerns how children figure out meanings of words from hearing them in context, since in many contexts there are multiple words and multiple potential referents for those words. Recent findings concerning on-line sentence comprehension suggest that, within the conversational context, potential referents compete for mappings to words. Three experiments examined whether such competitive processes may play a role in young children's learning of novel adjectives in an artificial word learning task. According to a competitive process view, although young children often mismap adjectives to whole objects rather than the properties of objects, explicitly mentioned familiar words should strongly map to referents consistent with those words and thereby decrease the likelihood of novel words being mismapped to these referents. Experiments 1 and 2 examined the role of the mere mention of familiar words and the role of word order in two year olds' ability to map a novel adjective to a property. Experiment 3 examined these processes in three year olds. The results indicate that lexical competition plays a particularly strong role in helping two year olds map a novel object to a property, whereas syntactic information about form class may also be informative to older children. The results suggest how fundamental processes of lexical competition in on-line word comprehension may give young learners a way to leverage known words in learning new words.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Texas (Houston)
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01HD058620