Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Toddlers learn words in a foreign language: the role of native vocabulary knowledge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2011


MELISSA KOENIG
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota
AMANDA L. WOODWARD
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

The current study examined monolingual English-speaking toddlers' (N=50) ability to learn word–referent links from native speakers of Dutch versus English, and second, whether children generalized or sequestered their extensions when terms were tested by a subsequent speaker of English. Overall, children performed better in the English than in the Dutch condition; however, children with high native vocabularies successfully selected the target object for terms trained in fluent Dutch. Furthermore, children with higher vocabularies did not indicate their comprehension of Dutch terms when subsequently tested by an English speaker whereas children with low vocabulary scores responded at chance levels to both the original Dutch speaker and the second English speaker. These findings demonstrate that monolingual toddlers with proficiency in their native language are capable of learning words outside of their conventional system and may be sensitive to the boundaries that exist between language systems.


Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Au, T. & Glusman, M. (1990). The principle of mutual exclusivity in word learning: To honor or not to honor? Child Development 61(5), 1474–90.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baddeley, A., Gathercole, S. E. & Papagno, C. (1998). The phonological loop as a language learning device. Psychological Review 105(1), 158–73.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baldwin, D. A. (1991). Infants' contribution to the achievement of joint reference. Child Development 62, 875–90.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baldwin, D. A. (1993). Early referential understanding: Infants' ability to recognize referential acts for what they are. Developmental Psychology 29, 832–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldwin, D. A. (1995). Understanding the link between joint attention and language. In Moore, C. & Dunham, P. J. (eds), Joint attention: Its origins and role in development, 131–58. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Baldwin, D. A., Markman, E., Bill, B., Desjardins, N., Irwin, J. & Tidball, G. (1996). Infants' reliance on a social criterion for establishing word–object relations. Child Development 67, 3135–53.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baldwin, D. A. & Moses, L. (1996). The ontogeny of social information gathering. Child Development 67, 1915–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldwin, D. A. & Moses, L. (2001). Links between social understanding and early word learning: Challenges to current accounts. Social Development 10, 309329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bates, E., Benigni, L., Bretherton, I., Camaioni, L. & Volterra, V. (1979). The emergence of symbols: Cognition and communication in infancy. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Bloom, P. (2000). How children learn the meanings of words. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Bloom, P. & Markson, L. (1998). Intention and analogy in children's naming of pictorial representations. Psychological Science 9, 200204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bosch, L. & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (1997). Native-language recognition abilities in 4-month-old infants from monolingual and bilingual environments. Cognition 65, 3369.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brooks, R. & Meltzoff, A. N. (2005). The development of gaze following and its relation to language. Developmental Science 8, 535–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buresh, J. S. & Woodward, A. L. (2007). Infants track action goals within and across agents. Cognition 104, 287314.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Campbell, A. L. & Namy, L. L. (2003). The role of social-referential context in verbal and nonverbal symbol learning. Child Development 74, 549–63.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Clark, E. V. (1993). The lexicon in acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clark, E. V. (2007). Conventionality and contrast in language and language acquisition. In Kalish, C. & Sabbagh, M. (eds), Conventionality in cognitive development: How children acquire shared representations in language, thought and action, no. 115, pp. 1123. San Francisco: Wiley Periodicals.Google Scholar
Comeau, L., Genesee, F. & Mendelson, M. (2007). Bilingual children's repairs of breakdowns in communication. Journal of Child Language 34, 159–74.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dehaene-Lambertz, G. & Houston, D. (1998). Faster orientation latencies toward native language in two-month-old infants. Language and Speech 41(1), 2143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DeLoache, J. S. & Burns, N. M. (1993). Symbolic development in young children: Understanding models and pictures. In Pratt, C. & Garton, A. F. (eds), Systems of representation in children: Development and use, 91112. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
Diesendruck, G. (2005). The principles of conventionality and contrast in word learning: An empirical investigation. Developmental Psychology 41(3), 451–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diesendruck, G. & Markson, L. (2011). Children's assumption of the conventionality of culture. Child Development Perspectives.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fenson, L., Pethick, S., Renda, C., Cox, J., Dale, P. and Reznick, S. (2000). Short-form versions of the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories. Applied Psycholinguistics 21, 95–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gathercole, S. E., Hitch, G. J., Service, E. & Martin, A. J. (1997). Phonological short-term memory and new word learning in children. Developmental Psychology 33, 966–79.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Genesee, F., Boivin, I. & Nicoladis, E. (1996). Talking with strangers: A study of bilingual children's communicative competence. Applied Psycholinguistics 17, 427–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Genesee, F. & Nicoladis, E. (2007). Bilingual first language acquisition. In Hoff, E. & Shatz, M. (eds), Blackwell handbook of language development, 324–42. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Graham, S. A., Stock, H. & Henderson, A. (2006). Nineteen-month-olds' understanding of the conventionality of object labels versus desires. Infancy 9, 341–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Henderson, A. M. & Graham, S. A. (2005). Two-year-olds' appreciation of the shared nature of novel object labels. Journal of Cognition and Development 6(3), 381402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kalish, C. W. & Sabbagh, M. A. (2007). Conventionality and cognitive development: How children acquire shared representations in language, thought and action. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development No. 115.Google Scholar
Kinzler, K., Dupoux, E. & Spelke, E. (2007). The native language of social cognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104(30), 12577–80.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kinzler, K., Shutts, K., DeJesus, J. & Spelke, E. (2009). Accent trumps race in guiding children's social preferences. Social Cognition 27, 623–34.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Koenig, M. A. & Echols, C. H. (2003). Infants' understanding of false labeling events: The referential roles of words and the speakers who use them. Cognition 87, 179203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koenig, M. A. & Woodward, A. L. (2007). Word learning. In Gaskell, M. G. (ed.), The Oxford handbook of psycholinguistics, 617–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Koenig, M. A. & Woodward, A. L. (2010). Sensitivity of 24-month-olds to the prior inaccuracy of the source: Possible mechanisms. Developmental Psychology 46(4), 815–26.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kraljic, T., Brennan, S. E. & Samuel, A. G. (2008). Accommodating variation: Dialects, idiolects, and speech processing. Cognition 107, 5481.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kraljic, T., Samuel, A. & Brennan, S. (2008). First impressions and last resorts: How listeners adjust to speaker variability. Psychological Science 19, 332–38.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kuhl, P. K. (2004). Early language acquisition: Cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews: Neuroscience 5, 831–43.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lewis, D. K. (1969). Convention: A philosophical study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Liittschwager, J. C. & Markman, E. M. (1994). Sixteen- and 24-month-olds' use of mutual exclusivity as a default assumption in second-label learning. Developmental Psychology 30, 955–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Markman, E., Wasow, J. & Hansen, J. (2003). Use of the mutual exclusivity assumption by young word learners. Cognitive Psychology 47, 241–75.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mehler, J., Jusczyk, P., Lambertz, G., Halsted, N., Bertoncini, J. & Amiel-Tison, C. (1988). A precursor of language acquisition in young infants. Cognition 29, 143–78.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Moses, L., Baldwin, D., Rosicky, J. & Tidball, G. (2001). Evidence for referential understanding in the emotions domain at 12 and 18 months. Child Development 72, 718–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mundy, P. & Gomes, A. (1998). Individual differences in joint attention skill development in the second year. Infant Behavior and Development 21, 469–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Namy, L. & Waxman, S. (1998). Words and gestures: Infants' interpretations of different forms of symbolic reference. Child Development 69, 295308.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Namy, L. & Waxman, S. (2000). Naming and exclaiming: Infants' sensitivity to naming contexts. Journal of Cognition and Development 1(4), 405428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nazzi, T., Bertoncini, J. & Mehler, J. (1998). Language discrimination by newborns: Toward an understanding of the role of rhythm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 24, 756–66.Google ScholarPubMed
Nicoladis, E. & Genesee, F. (1996). A longitudinal study of pragmatic differentiation in young bilingual children. Language Learning 46, 439–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sabbagh, M. & Shafman, D (2009). How children block learning from ignorant speakers. Cognition 112, 415–22.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Snedeker, J., Geren, J. & Shafto, C. L. (2007). Starting over: International adoption as a natural experiment in language development. Psychological Science 18(1), 7987.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Stoel-Gammon, C. (1998). Phonological development. In Hoff, E. & Shatz, M. (eds), Blackwell handbook of language development, 238–56. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
Tomasello, M. (1995). Joint attention as social cognition. In Moore, C. and Durham, P. J. (eds), Joint attention: Its origin and role in development, 103130. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Tomasello, M., Carpenter, M., Call, J., Behne, T. & Moll, G. (2005). Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28(5), 675–91.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tomasello, M. & Farrar, J. (1986). Joint attention and early language. Child Development 57, 1454–63.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tsao, F.-M., Liu, H.-M. & Kuhl, P. K. (2004). Speech perception in infancy predicts language development in the second year of life: A longitudinal study. Child Development 75, 1067–84.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Walley, A. (1993). The role of vocabulary development in children's spoken word recognition and segmentation ability. Developmental Review 13, 286350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Woodward, A. (2004). Infants' use of action knowledge to get a grasp on words. In Waxman, S. R. (ed.), Weaving a lexicon. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Woodward, A. L. & Hoyne, K. (1999). Infants' learning about words and sounds in relation to objects. Child Development 70, 6577.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Woodward, A. L., Markman, E. M. & Fitzsimmons, C. M. (1994). Rapid word learning in 13- and 18-month-olds. Developmental Psychology 30, 553–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Altmetric attention score


Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 190 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-8465588854-4fbvn Total loading time: 0.596 Render date: 2020-11-29T11:27:23.044Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Sun Nov 29 2020 10:27:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Toddlers learn words in a foreign language: the role of native vocabulary knowledge
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Toddlers learn words in a foreign language: the role of native vocabulary knowledge
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Toddlers learn words in a foreign language: the role of native vocabulary knowledge
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *