Do children privilege phonological cues in noun class learning?

Jennifer Culbertson, Hanna Jarvinen, Frances Haggarty, Kenny Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Previous research on acquisition of noun class systems, such as grammatical gender, has shown that child learners rely disproportionately on phonological cues to class, even when competing semantic cues are more reliable. Culbertson, Gagliardi, and Smith (2017) use artificial language learning experiments with adults to argue that over-reliance on phonology may be due to the fact that phonological cues are available first; learners base early representations on surface phonological dependencies, only later integrating semantic cues from noun meanings. Here, we show that child learners (6-7 year-olds) show this same sensitivity to early availability. However, we also find intriguing evidence of developmental changes in sensitivity to semantics; when both cues are simultaneously available children are more likely to rely on a phonology cue than adults. Our results suggest that early availability and a bias in favor of phonological cues may both contribute to children's over-reliance on phonology in natural language acquisition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages268-273
Number of pages6
Volume40
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196784
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2018
Event40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018 - Madison, United States
Duration: 25 Jul 201828 Jul 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Volume40
ISSN (Electronic)1069-7977

Conference

Conference40th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Changing Minds, CogSci 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMadison
Period25/07/1828/07/18

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • artificial language learning
  • category learning
  • gender
  • language acquisition
  • noun class

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Do children privilege phonological cues in noun class learning?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this