ERIC Number: EJ850491
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
Perceptual Complexity and Form Class Cues in Novel Word Extension Tasks: How 4-Year-Old Children Interpret Adjectives and Count Nouns
Sandhofer, Catherine M.; Smith, Linda B.
Developmental Science, v7 n3 p378-388 Jun 2004
Two experiments examined the role of perceptual complexity, object familiarity and form class cues on how children interpret novel adjectives and count nouns. Four-year-old children participated in a forced-choice match-to-target task in which an exemplar was named with a novel word and children were asked to choose another one that matched the exemplar in either shape or material. In experiment 1, 56 children were provided with lexical form class cues suggestive of adjectives. The results of Experiment 1 showed that perceptual complexity and not object familiarity determined whether children made material or shape matches. In Experiment 2, 56 children were provided with lexical form class cues suggestive of count nouns. The results of Experiment 2 showed that neither perceptual complexity nor object familiarity affected children's selections in the matching task. When provided with lexical form class cues suggestive of a count noun, children selected shape matches. Thus the results suggest that the perceptual properties of the objects presented to children coupled with the particular lexical form class cue determine which features of objects children attend to when interpreting novel words.
Descriptors: Cues, Nouns, Familiarity, Preschool Children, Role, Form Classes (Languages), Task Analysis, Language Acquisition, Vocabulary, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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