Early Word Comprehension in Infants: Replication and Extension.
A handful of recent experimental reports have shown that infants of 6 to 9 months know the meanings of some common words. Here, we replicate and extend these findings. With a new set of items, we show that when young infants (age 6-16 months, n=49) are presented with side-by-side video clips depicting various common early words, and one clip is named in a sentence, they look at the named video at above-chance rates. We demonstrate anew that infants understand common words by 6-9 months, and that performance increases substantially around 14 months. The results imply that 6-9 month olds' failure to understand words not referring to objects (verbs, adjectives, performatives) in a similar prior study is not attributable to the use of dynamic video depictions. Thus, 6-9 month olds' experience of spoken language includes some understanding of common words for concrete objects, but relatively impoverished comprehension of other words.
Bergelson, E; Swingley, D
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