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Eighteen-month-olds learn novel words through overhearing


Gampe, Anja; Liebal, Kristin; Tomasello, Michael (2012). Eighteen-month-olds learn novel words through overhearing. First Language, 32(3):385-397.

Abstract

The prototypical word learning situation in western, middle-class cultures is dyadic: an adult addresses a child directly, ideally in a manner sensitive to their current focus of attention. But young children also seem to learn many of their words in polyadic situations through overhearing. Extending the previous work of Akhtar and colleagues, in the current two studies we gave 18-month-old infants opportunities to acquire novel words through overhearing in situations that were a bit more complex: they did not socially interact with the adult who used the new word before the word learning situation began, and the way the adult used the new word was less transparent in that it was neither a naming nor a directive speech act. In both studies, infants learned words equally well (and above chance) whether they were directly addressed or had to eavesdrop on two adults. Almost from the beginning, young children employ diverse learning strategies for acquiring new words.

Abstract

The prototypical word learning situation in western, middle-class cultures is dyadic: an adult addresses a child directly, ideally in a manner sensitive to their current focus of attention. But young children also seem to learn many of their words in polyadic situations through overhearing. Extending the previous work of Akhtar and colleagues, in the current two studies we gave 18-month-old infants opportunities to acquire novel words through overhearing in situations that were a bit more complex: they did not socially interact with the adult who used the new word before the word learning situation began, and the way the adult used the new word was less transparent in that it was neither a naming nor a directive speech act. In both studies, infants learned words equally well (and above chance) whether they were directly addressed or had to eavesdrop on two adults. Almost from the beginning, young children employ diverse learning strategies for acquiring new words.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Uncontrolled Keywords:Linguistics and Language, Education, Language and Linguistics
Language:English
Date:1 August 2012
Deposited On:06 Nov 2019 16:40
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:43
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0142-7237
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0142723711433584

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