An important question in verb learning is how children extend new verbs to new situational contexts. In Study 1, 2 1/2-year-old children were shown a complex event followed by new events that preserved only the action from the initial event, only the result, or no new events. Children seeing events that preserved either the action or the result produced appropriate verb extensions at test while children without this information did not. In a follow-up study, children hearing new verbs produced more extensions than did children hearing nonlabeling speech. These studies suggest that attention to related events is helpful to young verb learners, perhaps because they structurally align these events (e.g., Gentner, 1983; 1989) during verb learning.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Childers, J.B. (2011). Attention to multiple events helps two 1/2-year-olds extend new verbs. First Language, 31(1), 3-22. doi: 10.1177/0142723710361825