ERIC Number: EJ936957
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Interactions between Statistical and Semantic Information in Infant Language Development
Lany, Jill; Saffran, Jenny R.
Developmental Science, v14 n5 p1207-1219 Sep 2011
Infants can use statistical regularities to form rudimentary word categories (e.g. noun, verb), and to learn the meanings common to words from those categories. Using an artificial language methodology, we probed the mechanisms by which two types of statistical cues (distributional and phonological regularities) affect word learning. Because linking distributional cues vs. phonological information to semantics make different computational demands on learners, we also tested whether their use is related to language proficiency. We found that 22-month-old infants with smaller vocabularies generalized using phonological cues; however, infants with larger vocabularies showed the opposite pattern of results, generalizing based on distributional cues. These findings suggest that both phonological and distributional cues marking word categories promote early word learning. Moreover, while correlations between these cues are important to forming word categories, we found infants' weighting of these cues in subsequent word-learning tasks changes over the course of early language development.
Descriptors: Infants, Language Acquisition, Statistics, Semantics, Artificial Languages, Phonology, Cues, Vocabulary Development, Language Proficiency
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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