Concept formation and language development: count nouns and object kinds

Fei Xu

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568971
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
 Concept formation and language development: count nouns and object kinds

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  • Psychology
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What is the role of language in concept formation in infancy? More specifically, does learning count nouns play a causal role in infants' acquisition of object kind concepts? The relationship between language development and concept formation is an old question that has intrigued psycholinguists, philosophers, and psychologists for decades. Recent years have witnessed a surge of interest in this area. Many domains of conceptual representations and the corresponding linguistic representations have been investigated. At the syntactic level, researchers have explored the role of morphsyntax in spatial representations as well as the understanding of false belief. At the lexical level, they have explored how words of various grammatical classes may impact on spatial category formation, number representations, and representations of objects and substances. This article focuses on a universal aspect of language: representations of count nouns that refer to object kinds. It discusses count nouns and categorization, individuation, and inductive inference.

Keywords: concept formation; language development; count nouns; object kinds; categorization; individuation; inductive inference; infants

Article.  6262 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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