This paper examines children’s attention to cross-situational information during word learning. Korean-speaking children in Korea and Englishspeaking children in the US were taught four nonce words that referred to novel actions. For each word, children saw four related events: half were shown events that were very similar (Close comparisons), half were shown events that were not as similar (Far comparisons). The prediction was that children would compare events to each other and thus be influenced by the events shown. In addition, children in these language groups could be influenced differently as their verb systems differ. Although some differences were found across language, children in both languages were influenced by the type of events shown, suggesting that they are using a comparison process. Thus, this study provides evidence for comparison, a new mechanism to describe how children learn new action words, and demonstrates that this process could apply across languages.
Childers, Jane B. and Paik, Jae H., "Korean- and English-speaking children use cross-situational information to learn novel predicate terms" (2009). Psychology Faculty Research. Paper 21.
Journal of Child Language. 36 (2009), 201-224. doi:10.1017/S0305000908008891