Children's resistance to homonymy

An experimental study of pseudohomonyms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research in diachronic linguistics has shown that homonyms are often dispreferred in language. This study proposes that this trend is mirrored in the difficulties that children encounter in mapping homonyms. Two experiments are presented in support of this proposition. In Experiment 1, 16 preschool children (mean age = 4;6) are shown to perform quite well on tasks requiring them to assign novel meanings to nonsense words. They perform poorly, however, on tasks requiring them to assign a different, unrelated meaning to a known word. Experiment 2 (N=18, mean age = 4;5) shows that preschoolers' performance on this task, however, improves when a known word appears in a syntactic frame that is not appropriate for the word (as when a verb appears in a noun syntactic frame), thereby providing a strong indication that a new meaning is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-343
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Child Language
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

Fingerprint

Task Performance and Analysis
Preschool Children
Linguistics
Language
experiment
Research
preschool child
indication
linguistics
trend
language
performance
Experiment
Homonymy
Experimental Study
Syntax
Homonym

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Children's resistance to homonymy : An experimental study of pseudohomonyms. / Casenhiser, Devin.

In: Journal of Child Language, Vol. 32, No. 2, 01.05.2005, p. 319-343.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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