Vacuuming with my mouth?

children's ability to comprehend novel extensions of familiar verbs

Rebecca Seston*, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Weiyi Ma, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Can 6- and 8-year-olds (and adults) comprehend common instrument verbs when extended to novel situations? Participants heard eight unusual extensions of common verbs and were asked to paraphrase the verbs' meanings. Half of the verbs used were specified instrument verbs that include the name of the instrument used to perform the action (e.g., a vacuum is used to vacuum); the other half were open instrument verbs (e.g., write) whose function can be performed with a range of objects. Results suggest that children's ability to interpret verb extensions increases with age, that open instrument verb extensions were more difficult to comprehend than specified instrument verb extensions and that performance on verb extension correlates with scores on a standardized test of language acquisition. Verb knowledge continues to develop well beyond the preschool years.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-124
    Number of pages12
    JournalCognitive Development
    Volume24
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

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