Input That Contradicts Young Children’s Strategy for Mapping Novel Words Affects Their Phonological and Semantic Interpretation of Other Novel Words Children tend to choose an entity they cannot already label, rather than one they can, as the likely referent of a novel noun. The effect of input that contradicts this strategy on the interpretation of other novel nouns was investigated. In pre- and posttests, 4-year-olds were asked to judge whether ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2004
Input That Contradicts Young Children’s Strategy for Mapping Novel Words Affects Their Phonological and Semantic Interpretation of Other Novel Words
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lorna Hernandez Jarvis
    Hope College, Holland, MI
  • William E. Merriman
    Kent State University, Kent, OH
  • Michelle Barnett
    Hope College
  • Jessica Hanba
    Hope College
  • Kylee S. Van Haitsma
    Hope College
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: jarvis@hope.edu
  • Contact author: Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, PhD, Department of Psychology, 9 East 10th Street, Hope College, Holland, MI 49423. E-mail: jarvis@hope.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2004
Input That Contradicts Young Children’s Strategy for Mapping Novel Words Affects Their Phonological and Semantic Interpretation of Other Novel Words
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 392-406. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/032)
History: Received February 20, 2003 , Accepted June 24, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 392-406. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/032)
History: Received February 20, 2003; Accepted June 24, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

Children tend to choose an entity they cannot already label, rather than one they can, as the likely referent of a novel noun. The effect of input that contradicts this strategy on the interpretation of other novel nouns was investigated. In pre- and posttests, 4-year-olds were asked to judge whether novel nouns referred to "name-similar" familiar objects or novel objects (e.g., whether japple referred to an apple or a binder clip). During an intervening treatment phase, they were asked to pick the referents of novel nouns from pairs of familiar objects (Experiments 1 and 3) or were taught subordinate names for familiar objects (Experiment 2). Most resisted the lure of phonological similarity in the pretest but increased selection of name-similar familiar objects over novel ones in the posttest. In Experiment 3, which involved monosyllables that differed in initial phoneme from the familiar words, treatment produced this effect only when accompanied by a rhyme-sensitization procedure. Experiment 2 included two other age groups: 2-year-olds, who were less resistant to phonological similarity in the pretest and responded to the treatment like the 4-year-olds; and adults, who nearly always selected the novel objects in the pretest and posttest. For children, the impact of treatment was positively associated with ability to detect phonological similarity and negatively associated with vocabulary size.

Acknowledgments
We are grateful to the children and parents in the Holland, MI, and Akron, OH, areas and to the directors and staff of local child care centers for their participation. John Marazita was especially helpful in setting up Experiment 3. We appreciate the assistance provided by the following students: Patty Bruininks, Nicole Hauck, Stacey Masterson, Sally Pavlik, and Naomi Tsukamoto. Comments by Dan Levin, David Myers, John Shaughnessy, and Maria Zaragoza on the manuscript helped to improve it.
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