Two-year-olds use primary sentence accent to learn new words.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

German children aged 2;1 heard a sentence containing a nonce noun and a nonce verb (Der Feks miekt). Either the noun or the verb was prosodically highlighted by increased pitch, duration and loudness. Independently, either the object or the action in the ongoing referential scene was the new element in the situation. Children learned the nonce noun only when it was both highlighted prosodically and the object in the scene was referentially new. They did not learn the nonce verb in any condition. These results suggest that from early in linguistic development, young children understand that prosodic salience in a sentence indicates referential newness.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Grassmann, S; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • August 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 677 - 687

PubMed ID

  • 17822144

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-0009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0305000907008021

Language

  • eng