Children use syntax to learn verb meanings

Letitia Naigles
Verb learning is clearly a function of observation of real-world contingencies; however, it is argued that such observational information is insufficient to account fully for vocabulary acquisition. This paper provides an experimental validation of Landau & Gleitman's (1985) syntactic bootstrapping procedure; namely, that children may use syntactic information to learn new verbs. Pairs of actions were presented simultaneously with a nonsense verb in one of two syntactic structures. The actions were subsequently separated, and the...
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