Verbs: Learning How Speakers Use Words to Refer to Actions
Contribution to Book
Children grow up in a complex world and must acquire their native language from a dynamic environment. From infancy, they need to segment the continuous stream of action that surrounds them into meaningful events and figure out how parents use words to describe these events. Verbs vary by language so parents speaking different languages may use different verbs to refer to different events or parts of events (e.g., Talmy, 1975). Thus, learning a new verb has been described as solving a “packaging problem” (e.g,. Gleitman & Gleitman, 1992) because what children need to do when faced with learning a new verb is to conceptually package dynamic, transient events in just those ways that fit a particular verb in their language (Gentner, 1982; Gentner & Boroditsky, 2001).
Gert Westermann & Nivedita Mani
Childers, J. B., Bottera, A., & Howard, T. (2018). Verbs: Learning how speakers use words to refer to actions. In G. Westermann & N. Mani (Eds.), Early word learning (pp. 70-82). Routledge. http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315730974
Early Word Learning