ERIC Number: EJ777183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Sources of Young Children's Name Innovations for Novel Artifacts
Nelson, Deborah G. Kemler; Herron, Lindsay; Holt, Morghan B.
Journal of Child Language, v30 n4 p823-843 Nov 2003
Two studies investigated whether four-year-old children (12 in Experiment 1 with a mean age of 4;8 and 36 in Experiment 2 with a mean age of 4;7) invent names for new artifacts based on the objects' functions as opposed to their perceptual properties. Children informed about the intended functions of novel objects provided more name innovations that were clearly function-based than perception-based. This tendency was observed when children were shown the objects' functions, even if they were also given verbal descriptions of the objects' perceptual properties and parts. Only when ignorant of the objects' intended functions did children tend to use perceptual features to create substantial numbers of names. Accordingly, results from this name-innovation methodology converge with findings from some recent studies of lexical categorization suggesting that functional information is critical to how preschoolers extend artifact names. Children appear to appreciate an intimate relation between the functions of artifacts and how they are named. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This research was partially supported by Joel Dean Summer Research Assistantships.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: Swarthmore Coll., PA.
Authoring Institution: N/A