NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ777493
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May
Pages: 25
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0305-0009
Children's Resistance to Homonymy: An Experimental Study of Pseudohomonyms
Casenhiser, Devin M.
Journal of Child Language, v32 n2 p319-343 May 2005
Research in diachronic linguistics has shown that homonyms are often dispreferred in language. This study proposes that this trend is mirrored in the difficulties that children encounter in mapping homonyms. Two experiments are presented in support of this proposition. In Experiment 1, 16 preschool children (mean age = 4;6) are shown to perform quite well on tasks requiring them to assign novel meanings to nonsense words. They perform poorly, however, on tasks requiring them to assign a different, unrelated meaning to a known word. Experiment 2 (N = 18, mean age = 4;5) shows that preschoolers' performance on this task, however, improves when a known word appears in a syntactic frame that is not appropriate for the word (as when a verb appears in a noun syntactic frame), thereby providing a strong indication that a new meaning is appropriate. (Contains 1 footnote.)
Cambridge University Press. The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK. Tel: 800-872-7423; Tel: 845-353-7500; Tel: +44-1223-326070; Fax: 845-353-4141; Fax: +44-1223-325150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A