Mummy! Ball! Fish!: Why English-learning children produce nouns earlier than verbs

Kelly, Barbara F. (2007). Mummy! Ball! Fish!: Why English-learning children produce nouns earlier than verbs. In: Ilana Mushin and Mary Laughren, Annual Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society, Brisbane, Australia, (). 7-9 July, 2006.

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Author Kelly, Barbara F.
Title of paper Mummy! Ball! Fish!: Why English-learning children produce nouns earlier than verbs
Conference name Annual Meeting of the Australian Linguistic Society
Conference location Brisbane, Australia
Conference dates 7-9 July, 2006
Publication Year 2007
Sub-type Fully published paper
Editor Ilana Mushin
Mary Laughren
Abstract/Summary When English-learning children begin using words the majority of their early utterances (around 80%) are nouns. Compared to nouns, there is a paucity of verbs or non-verb relational words, such as 'up' meaning 'pick me up'. The primary explanations to account for these differences in use either argue in support of a 'cognitive account', which claims that verbs entail more cognitive complexity than nouns, or they provide evidence challenging this account. In this paper I propose an additional explanation for children's noun/verb asymmetry. Presenting a 'multi-modal account' of word-learning based on children's gesture and word combinations, I show that at the one-word stage English-learning children use gestures to express verb-like elements which leaves their words free to express noun-like elements.
Subjects 380102 Learning, Memory, Cognition and Language
Keyword language development
child language
gesture
lexical acquisition
argument structure
cognition
socialization
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

 
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Created: Wed, 28 Mar 2007, 15:42:04 EST by Ilana Mushin