Principles of word learning
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Principles of word learning. Constraints on word learning. Gavagai. Quine 1960. Constraints on word learning. Gavagai: Dog Poodle Bone Barking Blue fur Isn‘t that a lovely day?. Constraints on word learning. The whole object constraint The mutual exclusivity constraint

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Principles of word learning

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Principles of word learning

Principles of word learning


Constraints on word learning

Constraints on word learning

Gavagai

Quine 1960


Constraints on word learning1

Constraints on word learning

Gavagai:

  • Dog

  • Poodle

  • Bone

  • Barking

  • Blue fur

  • Isn‘t that a lovely day?


Constraints on word learning2

Constraints on word learning

  • The whole object constraint

  • The mutual exclusivity constraint

  • The taxonomic constraint


The whole object constraint

The whole object constraint

New words are likely to refer to the whole object rather than ist parts, substance etc.


The mutual exclusivity constraint

The mutual exclusivity constraint

An entity cannot have more than one name.

The principle of contrast [Clark 1997]


Principles of word learning

Don't take the red tray, take the chromium tray.

Carey 1978


Principles of word learning

Markman 1996


Principles of word learning

Markman 1996


Principles of word learning

Show me the boom.

Prediction: Since children know the word fire truck, they will interpret the word ‚boom‘ as label for a noticable part of the fire truck.


Principles of word learning

Show me the platform.

Prediction: Since children don’t know the word microscope, they will interpret the word ‚platform‘ (which they also don‘t know) as label for a noticable part of the microscope.


Principles of word learning

Results

The results confirmed the prediction:

In the familiar condition, children interpret the novel noun as a name for the salient part.

In the unfamiliar condition, children interpret the novel noun as a name for the whole object.

Markman 1996


The taxonomic constraint

The taxonomic constraint

Taxonomic relationship

pig

horse

cow

Thematic relationship

pig –– mud

horse –– stable

cow –– milk


The taxonomic constraint1

The taxonomic constraint

Young children pay more attention to thematic relationships than to taxonomic relations.

However, in word learning they shift their attention from thematic to taxonomic relations.

Markmann 1996


The taxonomic constraint2

The taxonomic constraint

Target

Taxonomic choice

Thematic choice


Principles of word learning

ADULT:I am going to show you something.

See this?

ADULT:Can you find another one?


Principles of word learning

ADULT:I am going to show you a dax.

See this?

ADULT:Can you find another dax?


Linguistic cues

Linguistic cues

X-ing

X-ed

X-s

has X-ed

want to X

the X

a X

that X

those X-s

big X


Principles of word learning

That’s Zav.

That’s a Zav.

Subjects: 1;6 year olds

Katz, Baker and Macnamara 1974


Principles of word learning

Can you pick up Zav.

Can you pick up a Zav.

Katz, Baker and Macnamara 1974


Social pragmatic cues

Social-pragmatic cues

Determining the meaning of a novel word is often based on the child’s ability to understand the pragmatic situation and the adult’s communicative intention.

[Akthar and Tomasello 1996]


Social pragmatic cues1

Social-pragmatic cues

Let’s go find the toma.

Subjects: 2;0 year olds


Principles of word learning

Pick up the toma.


Social pragmatic cues2

Social-pragmatic cues

Children understood the pragmatic situation [searching for the toma], which allowed them to infer the meaning of a novel word although the word was never used with reference to a particular object.

[Akthar and Tomasello 1996]


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Cognitive principles/strategies that can facilitate word learning:

    • Cognitive constraints [whole object constraint, mutual exclusivity constraint, taxonomic constraint]

    • Linguistic cues [e.g. mass nouns vs. count nouns]

    • Social-pragmatic cues


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