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ERIC Number: EJ1140277
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-May
Pages: 38
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Language, Procedures, and the Non-Perceptual Origin of Number Word Meanings
Barner, David
Journal of Child Language, v44 n3 p553-590 May 2017
Perceptual representations of objects and approximate magnitudes are often invoked as building blocks that children combine to acquire the positive integers. Systems of numerical perception are either assumed to contain the logical foundations of arithmetic innately, or to supply the basis for their induction. I propose an alternative to this framework, and argue that the integers are not learned from perceptual systems, but arise to explain perception. Using cross-linguistic and developmental data, I show that small (~1-4) and large (~5+) numbers arise both historically and in individual children via distinct mechanisms, constituting independent learning problems, neither of which begins with perceptual building blocks. Children frst learn small numbers using the same logic that supports other linguistic number marking (e.g. singular/plural). Years later, they infer the logic of counting from the relations between large number words and their roles in blind counting procedures, only incidentally associating number words with approximate magnitudes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A