NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ872897
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Meaning from Syntax: Evidence from 2-Year-Olds
Arunachalam, Sudha; Waxman, Sandra R.
Cognition, v114 n3 p442-446 Mar 2010
When toddlers view an event while hearing a novel verb, the verb's syntactic context has been shown to help them identify its meaning. The current work takes this finding one step further to reveal that even in the absence of an accompanying event, syntactic information supports toddlers' identification of verb meaning. Two-year-olds were first introduced to dialogues incorporating novel verbs either in transitive or intransitive sentences, but in the absence of any relevant referent scenes (see Yuan & Fisher, 2009). Next, toddlers viewed two candidate scenes: (a) two participants performing synchronous actions, (b) two participants performing a causative action. When asked to "find mooping", toddlers who had heard transitive sentences chose the causative scene; those who had heard intransitive sentences did not. These results demonstrate that 2-year-olds infer important components of meaning from syntactic structure alone, using it to direct their subsequent search for a referent in a visual scene. (Contains 1 figure and 1 table.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A