ERIC Number: EJ929765
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Toddlers Use Speech Disfluencies to Predict Speakers' Referential Intentions
Kidd, Celeste; White, Katherine S.; Aslin, Richard N.
Developmental Science, v14 n4 p925-934 Jul 2011
The ability to infer the referential intentions of speakers is a crucial part of learning a language. Previous research has uncovered various contextual and social cues that children may use to do this. Here we provide the first evidence that children also use speech disfluencies to infer speaker intention. Disfluencies (e.g. filled pauses "uh" and "um") occur in predictable locations, such as before infrequent or discourse-new words. We conducted an eye-tracking study to investigate whether young children can make use of this distributional information in order to predict a speaker's intended referent. Our results reveal that young children (ages 2;4 to 2;8) reliably attend to speech disfluencies early in lexical development and are able to use disfluencies in online comprehension to infer speaker intention in advance of object labeling. Our results from two groups of younger children (ages 1;8 to 2;2 and 1;4 to 1;8) suggest that this ability emerges around age 2.
Descriptors: Evidence, Drama, Cues, Intention, Young Children, Child Development, Science Education, Speech Communication, Eye Movements, Classification, Investigations, Prediction, Age Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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