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Musolino, Julien; Laity d'Agostino, Kelsey; Piantadosi, Steve – Language Learning and Development, 2019
In a recent article published in this journal, Moscati and Crain (M&C) showcase the explanatory power of a learnability constraint called the Semantic Subset Principle (SSP) (Crain et al. 1994). If correct, M&C's argument would represent a compelling demonstration of the operation of an innate, domain specific, learning principle. However,…
Descriptors: Semantics, Linguistic Theory, Language Acquisition, Language Research
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Clark, Eve V. – Language Learning and Development, 2018
Children acquire language in conversation. This is where they are exposed to the community language by more expert speakers. This exposure is effectively governed by adult reliance on pragmatic principles in conversation: Cooperation, Conventionality, and Contrast. All three play a central role in speakers' use of language for communication in…
Descriptors: Pragmatics, Feedback (Response), Syntax, Semantics
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Hudson Kam, Carla L. – Language Learning and Development, 2018
Adult learners know that language is for communicating and that there are patterns in the language that need to be learned. This affects the way they engage with language input; they search for form-meaning linkages, and this effortful engagement could interfere with their learning, especially for things like grammatical gender that often have at…
Descriptors: Infants, Adult Learning, Grammar, Language Patterns
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Koring, Loes; Mak, Pim; Mulders, Iris; Reuland, Eric – Language Learning and Development, 2018
Previous studies have demonstrated that, for adults, differences between unaccusative verbs (e.g., "fall") and unergative verbs (e.g., "dance") lead to a difference in processing. However, so far we don't know whether this effect shows up in children's processing of these verbs as well. This study measures children's processing…
Descriptors: Language Processing, Verbs, Adults, Children
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Wagner, Katie; Jergens, Jill; Barner, David – Language Learning and Development, 2018
Previous studies report that children use color words haphazardly before acquiring conventional, adult-like meanings. The most common explanation for this is that children do not abstract color as a domain of linguistic meaning until several months after they begin producing color words, resulting in a stage during which they produce but do not…
Descriptors: Color, Toddlers, Vocabulary Development, Semantics
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Sullivan, Jessica; Bale, Alan; Barner, David – Language Learning and Development, 2018
Recently, researchers interested in the nature and origins of semantic representations have investigated an especially informative case study: The acquisition of the word "most"--a quantifier which by all accounts demands a sophisticated second-order logic, and which therefore poses an interesting challenge to theories of language…
Descriptors: Semantics, Foreign Countries, Preschool Children, Comprehension
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McDonald, Margarethe; Gross, Megan; Buac, Milijana; Batko, Michelle; Kaushanskaya, Margarita – Language Learning and Development, 2018
This study tested the effect of Spanish-accented speech on sentence comprehension in children with different degrees of Spanish experience. The hypothesis was that earlier acquisition of Spanish would be associated with enhanced comprehension of Spanish-accented speech. Three groups of 5-6-year-old children were tested: monolingual…
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Monolingualism, Language Processing, English
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Suzuki, Takaaki; Kobayashi, Tessei – Language Learning and Development, 2017
Syntactic bootstrapping facilitates children's initial learning of verb meanings based on syntactic information. A challenging case is the argument-drop languages, where the number of argument NPs is not a reliable cue for distinguishing between transitive and intransitive verbs. Despite this fact, the availability of syntactic bootstrapping in…
Descriptors: Syntax, Cues, Grammar, Verbs
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Achimova, Asya; Syrett, Kristen; Musolino, Julien; Déprez, Viviane – Language Learning and Development, 2017
In response to questions in which a "wh"-term interacts with a universal quantifier in object position, such as "Who picked every toy?," children as old as 5 years of age often provide a list, pairing toys with the people who picked each of them. This response pattern is unexpected, it has been claimed, because children appear…
Descriptors: Toys, Syntax, Semantics, Predictor Variables
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Kline, Melissa; Snedeker, Jesse; Schulz, Laura – Language Learning and Development, 2017
How do children map linguistic representations onto the conceptual structures that they encode? In the present studies, we provided 3-4-year-old children with minimal-pair scene contrasts in order to determine the effect of particular event properties on novel verb learning. Specifically, we tested whether spatiotemporal cues to causation also…
Descriptors: Cues, Children, Verbs, Spatial Ability
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Lewis, Shevaun; Hacquard, Valentine; Lidz, Jeffrey – Language Learning and Development, 2017
Children under 4 years of age often evaluate belief reports based on reality instead of beliefs. They tend to reject sentences like, "John thinks that giraffes have stripes" on the grounds that giraffes do not have stripes. Previous accounts have proposed that such judgments reflect immature Theory of Mind or immature syntactic/semantic…
Descriptors: Preschool Children, Beliefs, Theory of Mind, Cognitive Ability
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Bergelson, Elika; Aslin, Richard – Language Learning and Development, 2017
The present study investigated infants' knowledge about familiar nouns. Infants (n = 46, 12-20-month-olds) saw two-image displays of familiar objects, or one familiar and one novel object. Infants heard either a matching word (e.g. "foot' when seeing foot and juice), a related word (e.g. "sock" when seeing foot and juice) or a nonce…
Descriptors: Semantics, Language Processing, Infants, Language Acquisition
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Arosio, Fabrizio; Foppolo, Francesca; Pagliarini, Elena; Perugini, Maria; Guasti, Maria Teresa – Language Learning and Development, 2017
Specific language impairment (SLI) is a heterogeneous disorder affecting various aspects of language. While most studies have investigated impairments in the domain of syntax and morphosyntax, little is known about compositional semantics and the process of deriving pragmatic meanings in SLI. We selected a group of sixteen monolingual…
Descriptors: Language Impairments, Semantics, Italian, Children
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Wellwood, Alexis; Gagliardi, Annie; Lidz, Jeffrey – Language Learning and Development, 2016
Acquiring the correct meanings of words expressing quantities ("seven, most") and qualities ("red, spotty") present a challenge to learners. Understanding how children succeed at this requires understanding, not only of what kinds of data are available to them, but also the biases and expectations they bring to the learning…
Descriptors: Syntax, Computational Linguistics, Task Analysis, Prediction
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Dautriche, Isabelle; Chemla, Emmanuel; Christophe, Anne – Language Learning and Development, 2016
How do children infer the meaning of a word? Current accounts of word learning assume that children expect a word to map onto exactly one concept whose members form a coherent category. If this assumption was strictly true, children should infer that a homophone, such as "bat," refers to a single superordinate category that encompasses…
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Semantics, Adults, Language Processing
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