Chapter

Verbs at the Very Beginning: Parallels Between Comprehension and Input

Letitia R. Naigles and Erika Hoff

in Action Meets Word

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195170009
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893300 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170009.003.0014
Verbs at the Very Beginning: Parallels Between Comprehension and Input

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This chapter addresses two questions concerning the ability to extend verb meanings past their attested instances. First, when in the course of verb learning do verb meanings become extendable? It presents new data concerning 1-year-olds' ability (as well as the lack thereof) to extend familiar verbs to new instances. Second, given that limits to extendability are observable early in verb acquisition, what are the causes of these limits in children's input? The chapter presents new data on the nature of children's verb input which suggests that children's early conservatism may indeed have its roots in how verbs are used by adults, but that these roots are neither direct nor transparent. Finally, data on children's early verb comprehension and experience are presented as an exploration which probes the limits of current methodology to answer these questions.

Keywords: verbs; verb meanings; verb learning; familiar verbs

Chapter.  11581 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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