Yuan, Sylvia; Fisher, Cynthia
"Really? She Blicked the Baby?" Two-Year-Olds Learn Combinatorial Facts About Verbs by Listening
Teil von
  • Psychological science, 2009-05-01, Vol.20 (5), p.619-626
Ort / Verlag
Los Angeles, CA: Wiley Periodicals
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JSTOR Life Sciences
Children use syntax to guide verb learning. We asked whether the syntactic structure in which a novel verb occurs is meaningful to children even without a concurrent scene from which to infer the verb's semantic content. In two experiments, 2-year-olds observed dialogues in which interlocutors used a new verb in transitive ("lane bticked the baby!") or intransitive ("lane blicked!") sentences. The children later heard the verb in holation ("Find blicking!") while watching a one-participant event and a two-participant event presented side by side. Children who had heard transitive dialogues looked reliably longer at the two-participant event than did those who had heard intransitive diahgues. This effect persisted even when children were tested on a different day 9 but disappeared when no novel verb accompanied the test events (Experiment 2). Thus, 2-year-olds gather useful combinatorial information about a novel verb simply from hearing it in sentences, and later retrieve that information to guide interpretation of the verb.

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