Indeed, in some languages e. Generics, statistical frequency, and quantifiers As mentioned earlier in our discussion of the challenge of generic language, there is considerable debate as to how to characterize the semantics of generics e. When they hear a word for the first time, kids can often figure out what it means. It does not tell you what sound an aye-aye makes, where it lives, or how it moves. Similarly, we would predict that children would produce generics after a single experience with a novel count noun as suggested by. Symbolic functioning in very young children: Understanding of pictures and models.
From a linguistic standpoint, generics have no unique set of linguistic markers in English, as the noun phrases used to express generics include bare plural nouns, mass nouns, indefinite singular nouns, and definite singular nouns — all of which can be used to make non-generic reference. In the non-generic condition, the question was posed in non-generic form e. An alternative to this statistical frequency view is the possibility that theory-based considerations explain generic use. Consistent with the generics-as-default view, studies that have examined children's understanding of generics and quantifiers in the same study find that: a generics are used in an adult-like fashion at an earlier age than are quantifiers, and b quantifiers are at first misinterpreted as if they were generics. Then they asked which of two new animals could also be labeled with the new label: one that matched the target item on the predicated property e. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46, 56—67. The nature of word-finding errors of preschoolers with and without word-finding deficits.
Consistent but not variable names as invitations to form categories: New evidence from 12-month-old infants. As he's grown, Jose has gotten good at making his point. The absence of a shape bias in children's word learning. In contrast, on the generics-as-default account, generics should be easier to learn because the generic interpretation serves as a default. On the relation between mental representation and naming in a child with specific language impairment. Extended mapping, on the contrary, is the process of acquiring the complete understanding of the word or concept, which naturally happens over a longer time period.
How specific is the shape bias? The other day, she told her husband that the picture on their wall was tilted to one side. As proposed by , we assume that children are able to achieve fast-mapping because their initial word meanings are skeletal placeholders that will be extended gradually over time. Finally, we return to the issue of fast-mapping, and what the study of generics can tell us about fast-mapping in children. Gesture as a cue to generic vs. These features may guide your use of the word so that you apply it to other creatures with long claws and straggly fur. Although the kind is not directly named, it is implied through the use of a plural pronoun with no plural referent.
On an associative learning account, children should at first produce the most common form thereby overproducing bare plural generics, because adults produced these most frequently in their conversations with children. He is pleasantly surprised when his fantasy team finishes near the top. Object names and object functions serve as cues to categories for infants. The concept of black enters their minds as a color that can apply to many objects because they hear it used in this context. Beyond labeling: The role of parental input in the acquisition of richly structured categories.
They are 'fast' at picking the word up and figuring out how to use it. She has never placed higher than third in any of the competitions she has been in, but she is still convinced that she will be able to become a professional figure skater in a few years. On the associative-learning account, quantifiers should be easier to learn because they are explicitly and consistently marked and generics are not. Early object labels: The case for a developmental lexical principles framework. Participants then heard a question about this atypical dimension e. Evidence suggests that generics cannot be acquired solely on the basis of associative learning mechanisms; rather, they are a default interpretation for young children. This happens at a torrid rate.
In contrast, the generics-as-default account suggests that children should acquire multiple forms at once, because generics are assumed for any non-specific reference situation. Later, they were tested after a week during a comprehension test, and were reminded briefly of the earlier mapping. Nonetheless, they get their words correct, right from when they are barely two years old. In addition, a significant percentage of subjects recalled some nonlinguistic information associated with the referent. One finding of this study was that if the context is compelling, children can figure out the meaning of a new word even without hearing an explicit linguistic contrast.
One of them is known to be the process of fast mapping, primarily due to the sheer speed with which they grasp new words. This theoretical model has been highly productive, and leads to clear predictions, many of which have been supported in experimental tests e. What are the implications of these findings for fast-mapping? The full conceptual representation of a word may take months perhaps years to develop, because each word is initially mapped onto only a partial understanding — a placeholder, so to speak. Although this paper concerns fast-mapping, and in particular the nature of the placeholder that children establish during the fast-mapping of object labels, the studies we have reviewed are not fast-mapping studies. In Experiment 1, children learned words, facts with or without incidental novel words , or pictograms. The remainder of this paper examines the evidence for these two positions.
This last implication may be the most important, as it gets to the core of what we mean when we say that a child treats a word as kind-referring, namely: A kind e. But how do the little ones learn words? Each noun phrase was coded as generic or non-generic, taking into account immediate context. They are not equivalent to an entire category, as they admit of exceptions e. It is seen to be a very important step in the development of linguistic abilities of children, especially toddlers. Therefore, we predicted that animal categories should be more likely than artifact categories to elicit a focus on kinds and, hence, generic use. They were, however, asked to label certain new and unknown objects.
In contrast, on the generics-as-default account, children should produce all three forms from the start. Categories and induction in young children. Furthermore, each of these noun phrase forms can be used non-generically e. Comprehension and production of gesture in combination with speech in one-word speakers. Thus, statistical frequency seems insufficient to capture the full range of generic uses. East Sussex, England: Psychology Press. How children learn the meaning of words.