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ERIC Number: EJ1112824
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1547-5441
Learning the Language of Locomotion: Do Children Use Biomechanical Structure to Constrain Hypotheses about Word Meaning?
Malt, Barbara C.; White, Anne; Ameel, Eef; Storms, Gert
Language Learning and Development, v12 n4 p357-379 2016
Much has been said about children's strategies for mapping elements of meaning to words in toddlerhood. However, children continue to refine word meanings and patterns of word use into middle childhood and beyond, even for common words appearing in early vocabulary. We address where children past toddlerhood diverge from adults and where they more closely approximate them, and why. In two studies, we examined naming of locomotion (walking, running, hopping, etc.) by children aged four to nine and compared their patterns of word use to adult patterns. We evaluated whether the children are sensitive to the biomechanical discontinuity between pendulum-type and impact-and-recoil-type actions that constrains adult word use. We also evaluated whether they appreciate this constraint by age four or only develop appreciation later. Children from four onward were sensitive to the biomechanical distinction in their word use. Perceived domain structure plays a role in explaining later lexical development.
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; 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: Belgium
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A