Can English-learning toddlers acquire and generalize a novel spatial word?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

English-learning toddlers of 21 and 22 months were taught a novel spatial word for four actions resulting in a tight-fit spatial relation, a relation that is lexically marked in Korean but not English (Choi & Bowerman, 1991). Toddlers in a control condition viewed the same tight-fit action events without the novel word. Toddlers' comprehension of the novel word was tested in a preferential-looking paradigm. Across four videotaped pairs of action events, a tight-fit event was paired with a loose-fit event. Only toddlers who were taught the novel spatial word looked significantly longer at the tight-fit events during the test trials that presented the novel word than during control trials that presented neutral linguistic stimuli. The results indicate that toddlers can map and generalize a novel word onto actions resulting in a tight-fit relation, given limited experience with the novel word. The results provide insight into how young word learners begin to form language-specific semantic spatial categories. Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Casasola, M; Wilbourn, MP; Yang, S

Published Date

  • December 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 187 - 205

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1740-2344

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0142-7237

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0142723706060746

Citation Source

  • Scopus