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Academic Paper

Title: Preschoolers' extension of novel words to animals and artifacts
Author: Susan A Graham
Institution: University of Calgary
Author: Andrean N. Welder
Institution: University of Calgary
Author: Beverley A Merrifield
Institution: University of Calgary
Author: Jared J Berman
Institution: University of Calgary
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: We examined whether preschoolers' ontological knowledge would influence lexical extension. In Experiment 1, four-year-olds were presented with a novel label for either an object with eyes described as an animal, or the same object without eyes described as a tool. In the animal condition, children extended the label to similar-shaped objects, whereas in the tool condition, children extended the label to similar-function objects. In Experiment 2, when four-year-olds were presented with objects with eyes described as tools, they extended the label on the basis of shared function. These experiments suggest that preschoolers' conceptual knowledge guides their lexical extension.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 37, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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