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Flashcards in Word Learning Deck (27)
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1


Protowords

Sounds used consistently by children with consistent meaning but which bear no resemblance to conventional words


  Parent understands it, ritualized


  Can be gestures at first, then sounds plus gestures, then just sounds


  Not referential, but interactional (word must “stand for” the referent, not just “go with” them)

2


Protolanguage

Halliday's Four distinct acts of meaning


  Instrumental – request an object
  Regulatory – request an action
  Interactional – social context
  Personal – share interest

3


The mapping (“gavagai”) problem

What exactly is the word referring to?


  How large or small is the category?

4


Underextension Error

A child infers that a word belong to too small a group of things


  Context-specific words

5


Overextension Error

A child infers that a word belong to too large a group of things


  The property of this category is X, so everything that is X belongs in this category

6


Patterners

Interested in building, knowing how things work, objects, discovering


  More interested in things


  Have more referential words at 50 words

7


Dramatists

Interested in reproducing adult social reality


  More interested in people


  Have more expressive words at 50 words

8


Why is there a word spurt at 50 words?

Nativist, Behaviorist, Constructivist Explanations

Nativist


  Onset of the innate word-learning constraints


Behaviorist


  All words are learned in parallel but some are easy to learn and others are hard.  Just statistical.


Constructivist


  Advances in the child’s understanding of the world and of the nature of words (and how they can be grouped into categories)

 

9

(Nativist) Word learning constraints

3 Terms

According to the lexical constraint theory, children are able to figure out the correct meaning of words because they are born with innate knowledge that allows them to constrain the space of the possible meanings of words.

Whole Object Assumption

Mutual Exclusivity Assumption

Taxonomic Assumption

10


Whole Object Assumption

Proposes that when children hear a word, they assume it refers to the whole word.

11


Mutual Exclusivity Assumption

Proposes that children assume that different words refer to different things.


  Objects and concepts have a single word to refer to them

12


Taxonomic Assumption

Proposes that children assume that words refer to thing that are of the same kind, and so are used to categorize things


  If a researcher used a name (“This is a sud.  Fund the other sud”) vs. a vague “Find something like this,” the kid points to another categorically related picture (another dog, for instance)

13


Behaviorist word learning constraints

The innate constraints could also be learned


  Blocking

14


Constructivist word learning constraints

Principle of conventionality

Principle of Contrast

15


Principle of conventionality

Words cannot be made up; they must be shared by the community


   (language is a set of mostly arbitrary conventions)

16


Principle of Contrast

Different words have different meanings

17

Study: Do children understand the conventionality of words?

Graham, Stock, and Henderson


  19 month olds
  Tells kids that they are looking through a box for a “mido”
  Picks something up, says “oh!”
  Kids subsequently identify that object as a mido, regardless of whether the same person asks them or not


  Suggests that kids know that words generalize across people

18


Composition of kid’s early vocabulary

(3 types and definitions)

Context-bound/context-specific
   If the context is changed, the kid will not use the word anymore


  Nominal
   Referential, noun-like words
   Used flexibly, across situations


  Non-nominal
   Not a noun
   Used flexibly, across situations

19


How does a word become context-bound?

If it is only used in one way by the caregiver


A study showed that mothers did use the words out of the context that the kids use them, but most kids use the meaning most frequently used by the mother

20


Classical Conditioning

Unconditioned Stimulus
  Unconditioned Response
  Conditioned Stimulus
  Conditioned Response


  Dog – bell to salivation (presence of food)


  Bunny - tone to blink (eye air puff)


 

21


Word learning as classical conditioning

Hear the word cat to a mental representation of a cat (whether or not the cat is present)

22


Blocking in classical conditioning

The learned response inhibits other responses


  If a rabbit is trained first with a tone, can’t learn a new stimulus, such as a light flash

23


Social-pragmatic accounts of word learning

Word learning is born out of the child’s understanding of the world and other minds

Joint Attention

Common Ground

24


Joint Attention

Said to exist when two individuals are both attending to an object and when they are aware that the other is attending to it

25


Conversation as joint action

Language is used to get things done


  Involves many individual actions


  Ultimately a joint, collaborative action - cooperative

26

Study: Do children pay attention to joint attention and common ground?

Tomasello


   Experiment 1:
    12 month old played with two toys with an adult that left the room
    Child played with third toy with second adult
    When first adult returned, adult said, "wow, give me that!"
    Child handed object three

Child know from common ground that adult would not be excited about toy one and two


   Experiment 2:
    Same study, but just watched adult play with the two toys
    When they came back in, child would hand them anything


   Joint attention is necessary for common ground

27


Behaviorist view of word learning

Kids have a novelty bias


  They assume the other person is referring to something novel or something that stands out (to the kid)


  Don’t need any knowledge of other minds