Early noun vocabularies:Do ontology, category structure and syntax correspond?

Samuelson, Larissa K. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9141-3286 and Smith, Linda B. (1999) Early noun vocabularies:Do ontology, category structure and syntax correspond? Cognition, 73 (1). pp. 1-33. ISSN 0010-0277

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This paper examines children's early noun vocabularies and their interpretations of names for solid and non-solid things. Previous research in this area assumes that ontology, category organization and syntax correspond in the nouns children learn early such that categories of solid things are organized by shape similarity and named with count nouns and categories of non-solid things are organized by material similarity and named with mass nouns. In Experiment 1 we examine the validity of this assumption in a corpus of early-learned nouns and conclude that one side of the solidity-syntax-category organization mapping is favored. In our second experiment we examine the relation between early noun vocabulary development and novel word generalization. We find that children between 17 and 33 months of age do not systematically generalize names for solid things by shape similarity until they already know many nouns, and do not systematically generalize names for non-solid substances by material similarity. The implications for children's acquisition of the ontological distinction, count/mass syntax, and novel nouns are discussed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: The research presented in this paper was supported in part by NIH grant HD28675 to the second author. We wish to thank the parents and participants for their time and effort. We also thank Mike Young for his assistance in creating Fig. 5 . Thanks also go to Kelly Mix and Susan Jones for insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper and to John Spencer, Eliana Colunga, Elana Berken, Catherine Lynch, and James Denny for invaluable discussions of the data and ideas contained in the paper.
Uncontrolled Keywords: categories,nouns,ontology,syntax,vocabulary development,experimental and cognitive psychology,language and linguistics,developmental and educational psychology,linguistics and language,cognitive neuroscience ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2023 09:30
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 09:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90790
DOI: 10.1016/S0010-0277(99)00034-7

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