1887
Volume 10, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238

Abstract

Some researchers have tried to explain early word learning via garden-variety learning processes and others by invoking linguistically specific “constraints” that help children to narrow down the referential possibilities. The social-pragmatic approach to word learning argues that children do not need specifically linguistic constraints to learn words, but rather what they need are flexible and powerful social-cognitive skills that allow them to understand the communicative intentions of others in a wide variety of interactive situations. A series of seven word learning studies demonstrate something of the range of communicative situations in which children can learn new words. These situations include many non-ostensive contexts in which no one is intentionally teaching the child a new word and the intended referent is not perceptually present at the time of the new word’s introduction. Language acquisition in general, and word learning in particular, is best seen as a special case of cultural learning in which children attempt to discern adults’ intentions toward their intentions toward things in the world.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/prag.10.4.01tom
2000-01-01
2019-10-18
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Akhtar, N. , M. Carpenter , and M. Tomasello
    (1996) The role of discourse novelty in children’s early word learning. Child Development67: 635–45. doi: 10.2307/1131837
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1131837 [Google Scholar]
  2. Akhtar, N. , and M. Tomasello
    (1996) Twenty-four month old children learn words for absent objects and actions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology14: 79–93. doi: 10.1111/j.2044‑835X.1996.tb00695.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-835X.1996.tb00695.x [Google Scholar]
  3. Baldwin, D.
    (1991) Infants’ contributions to the achievement of joint referenceC. hild Development62: 875–90. doi: 10.2307/1131140
    https://doi.org/10.2307/1131140 [Google Scholar]
  4. (1993) Infants’ ability to consult the speaker for clues to word reference. Journal of Child Language20: 395–418. doi: 10.1017/S0305000900008345
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000900008345 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bloom, P.
    (2000) How children learn the meanings of words. Cambrdige, Mass.: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Brown
    (1973) A first language: The early stages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. doi: 10.4159/harvard.9780674732469
    https://doi.org/10.4159/harvard.9780674732469 [Google Scholar]
  7. Brown, P.
    (in press)The conversational context for language acquisition: A Tzeltal (Mayan) case study. To appear in M. Bowerman & S. Levinson (eds.) Language acquisition and conceptual development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bruner, J.
    (1983) Child’s talk. New York: Norton.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Carpenter, M. , N. Akhtar , and M. Tomasello
    (1998) Fourteen-through 18 month-old infants differentially imitate intentional and accidental actions. Infant Behavior and Development21.2: 315–330. doi: 10.1016/S0163‑6383(98)90009‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0163-6383(98)90009-1 [Google Scholar]
  10. Carpenter, M. , K. Nagell , and M. Tomasello
    (1998) Social cognition, joint attention, and communicative competence from 9 to 15 months of age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Volume 63.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Diesendruck, G. , L. Markson , N. Akhtar , and A. Reudor
    (in press)Two-year-olds’ sensitivity to speakers’ intent: An alternative account of Samuelson and Smith. Child Development.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Gleitman, L.
    (1990) The structural sources of verb meaning. Language Acquisition1: 3–55. doi: 10.1207/s15327817la0101_2
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327817la0101_2 [Google Scholar]
  13. Haith, M. , and J. Benson
    (1997) Infant cognition. In D. Kuhn & R. Siegler (eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology, Volume 2. New York: Wiley.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Markman, E.
    (1989) Categorization and naming in children. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. (1992) Constraints on word learning: Speculations about their nature, origins, and word specificity. In M. Gunnar & M. Maratsos (eds), Modularity and constraints in language and cognition. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Moore, C. , M. Angelopoulos , and P. Bennett
    (1999) Word learning in the context of referential and salience cues. Developmental Psychology35: 60–68. doi: 10.1037/0012‑1649.35.1.60
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.35.1.60 [Google Scholar]
  17. Nelson, K.
    (1996) Language in cognitive development. New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139174619
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174619 [Google Scholar]
  18. Pinker, S.
    (1999) Words and rules: The ingredients of language. New York: Basic Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Quine, W.
    (1960) Word and object. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Samuelson, L. , and L. Smith
    (1998) Memory and attention make smart word learning: An alternative account of Akhtar, Carpenter, and Tomasello. Child Development69: 94–104. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑8624.1998.tb06136.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1998.tb06136.x [Google Scholar]
  21. Smith, L.
    (2000) Learning how to learn words: An associative crane. In R. Golinkoff & K. Hirsh-Pasek (eds.), Becoming a word learne: A debate on lexical acquisition. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Tomasello, M.
    (1987) Learning to use prepositions: A case study. Journal of Child Language14: 79–98. doi: 10.1017/S0305000900012745
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000900012745 [Google Scholar]
  23. (1992a) The social bases of language acquisition. Social Development1.1: 67–87. doi: 10.1111/j.1467‑9507.1992.tb00135.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.1992.tb00135.x [Google Scholar]
  24. (1992b) First Verbs: A Case Study of Early Grammatical Development. Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511527678
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511527678 [Google Scholar]
  25. (1995a) Joint attention as social cognition. In C. Moore & P. Dunham (eds.), Joint attention: Its origins and role in development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp.103–130.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. (1995b) Pragmatic contexts for early verb learning. In M. Tomasello & W. Merriman (eds.), Beyond Names for Things: Young Children’s Acquisition of Verbs. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. (1998) Reference: Intending that others jointly attend. Pragmatics and Cognition6: 219–234. doi: 10.1075/pc.6.1‑2.12tom
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pc.6.1-2.12tom [Google Scholar]
  28. (ed.) (1998) The new psychology of language: Cognitive and functional approaches to language structure. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. (1999) The cultural origins of human cognition. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. (2000) Perceiving intentions and learning words in the second year of life. To appear in M. Bowerman & S. Levinson (eds.), Language acquisition and conceptual development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.132–158.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. (ed.) (in press)The new psychology of language: Cognitive and functional approaches to language structure, Volume 2. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Tomasello, M. , and N. Akhtar
    (1995) Two-year-olds use pragmatic cues to differentiate reference to objects and actions. Cognitive Development10: 201–224. doi: 10.1016/0885‑2014(95)90009‑8
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0885-2014(95)90009-8 [Google Scholar]
  33. Tomasello, M. , and M. Barton
    (1994) Learning words in non-ostensive contexts. Developmental Psychology30: 639–650. Tomasello & Brooks, in Press. doi: 10.1037/0012‑1649.30.5.639
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.30.5.639 [Google Scholar]
  34. Tomasello, M. , and A. Kruger
    (1992) Joint attention on actions: Acquiring verbs in ostensive and non-ostensive contexts. Journal of Child Language19: 311–334. doi: 10.1017/S0305000900011430
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000900011430 [Google Scholar]
  35. Tomasello, M. , R. Strosberg , and N. Akhtar
    (1996) Eighteen-month-old children learn words in non-ostensive contexts. Journal of Child Language22: 1–20.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Wittgenstein, L.
    (1953) Philosophical investigations. New York: MacMillan.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/prag.10.4.01tom
Loading
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Intentionality , Lexical Development , Pragmatics and Word Learning
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error