ERIC Number: EJ777197
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Do Word Learners Ignore Ignorant Speakers?
Sabbagh, Mark A.; Wdowiak, Sylwia D.; Ottaway, Jennifer M.
Journal of Child Language, v30 n4 p905-924 Nov 2003
Thirty-six three- to four-year-old children were tested to assess whether hearing a word-referent link from an ignorant speaker affected children's abilities to subsequently link the same word with an alternative referent offered by another speaker. In the principal experimental conditions, children first heard either an ignorant or a knowledgeable speaker link a novel word with one of three toys. The first speaker's labelling episode was followed by a second in which a different speaker used the same novel label but for a different toy. There was also a Base-line condition which was the same as the experimental condition involving the ignorant speaker except that she did not associate the novel label with a referent. When tested for comprehension of the novel label, children selected the FIRST speaker's toy at high levels when the first speaker was knowledgeable, but selected the SECOND speaker's toy when the first speaker was ignorant. These findings suggest that children's experience with the ignorant speaker did not affect their abilities to learn a subsequently presented alternative word-referent link. These findings are discussed in terms of understanding the mechanisms by which children adapt their word-learning in line with speakers' knowledge states. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This research was partially supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust.]
Descriptors: Young Children, Language Acquisition, Child Language, Language Processing, Language Research, Association (Psychology), Learning Processes, Experiments, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Sponsor: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada