ERIC Number: EJ897743
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
What Paradox? Referential Cues Allow for Infant Use of Phonetic Detail in Word Learning
Fennell, Christopher T.; Waxman, Sandra R.
Child Development, v81 n5 p1376-1383 Sep-Oct 2010
Past research has uncovered a surprising paradox: Although 14-month-olds have exquisite phonetic discrimination skills (e.g., distinguishing [b] from [d]), they have difficulty using phonetic detail when mapping "novel" words to objects in laboratory tasks (confusing "bin" and "din"). While some have attributed infants' difficulty to immature word learning abilities, the hypothesis presented herein is that infants are powerful word learners and this apparent difficulty occurs only when the referential status of the novel word is unclear. Across 2 experiments, 14-month-old infants (N = 44) used phonetic detail to map novel words to objects when conditions were conducive to word-referent mapping (clear sentential contexts and word-referent training), thus revealing no fundamental discontinuity in its use from speech perception to word learning.
Descriptors: Cues, Phonetics, Infants, Auditory Perception, Novels, Language Acquisition, Child Development, Task Analysis, Experiments, Experimental Psychology, Word Recognition, Evaluation Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A