ERIC Number: EJ777534
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Language Input and Semantic Categories: A Relation between Cognition and Early Word Learning
Borovsky, Arielle; Elman, Jeff
Journal of Child Language, v33 n4 p759-790 Nov 2006
Variations in the amount and nature of early language to which children are exposed have been linked to their subsequent ability (e.g. Huttenlocher, Haight, Bryk, Seltzer & Lyons, 1991; Hart & Risley, 1995). In three computational simulations, we explore how differences in linguistic experience can explain differences in word learning ability due to changes in the development of semantic category structure. More specifically, we manipulate the amount of language input, sentential complexity, and the frequency distribution of words within categories. In each of these simulations, improvements in category structure, are tightly correlated with subsequent improvements in word learning ability even when the nature of the input remains the same over time. These simulations suggest that variation in early language environments may result in differences in lexical proficiency by altering underlying cognitive abilities like categorization.
Descriptors: Semantics, Vocabulary Development, Linguistic Input, Child Language, Language Acquisition, Verbs, Language Research, Young Children, Language Processing, Sentence Structure, Computational Linguistics, Word Frequency, Correlation, Language Proficiency, Simulation, Classification, Early Experience, Cognitive Ability
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHHS), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A