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Author ORCID Identifier
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Jill Hoover, Ph.D
Gwyneth Rost, Ph.D
Tom Roeper, Ph.D
Communication Sciences and Disorders | Speech Pathology and Audiology
In typical language acquisition, word learning is an induction problem. When word learners hear an unfamiliar word, they make assumptions about the possible referent and its meaning. For nouns, this is relatively easy as word learners can rely on perceptual and pragmatic cues. For verbs, these two cues are fleeting, and word learners require additional kinds of cues for their meaning to be acquired. Two cues that affect verb learning include linguistic context and contrastive information. The current study used a within group comparison to examine the effect of linguistic context (i.e., rich vs. sparse) and contrastive information (i.e., implicit vs. explicit) on the fast mapping of novel verbs. Our study examined whether these two cues could facilitate verb learning in 20 children aged 3;0-5;11 and in 30 young adults. For child word learners, there was an interaction between age and contrastive information such that older, but not younger, preschool children’s learning was facilitated by an implicit cue. With an implicit cue, older preschool children fast mapped more novel verbs in rich than sparse linguistic contexts. On the other hand, adult learners were more successful in using linguistic context to fast map verbs such that they inferred the meaning of novel verbs more often in rich than sparse linguistic contexts. The results of the present study provide insights on the verb-learning differences between child learners and adult learners, as well as differences between younger and older preschoolers. These findings have implications for theories of word learning and provide information that may allow researchers to explore the effects of input, visual attention, and working memory on future verb learning studies in preschool-aged children.
Scripture, Samantha L., "THE EFFECT OF LINGUISTIC CONTEXT AND EXPLICIT CONTRAST ON THE FAST MAPPING OF VERBS" (2022). Doctoral Dissertations. 2649.
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