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Two studies examined the role of phonological cues in the lexical categorization of new words when children could also rely on learning by exclusion and whether the role of phonology depends on extensive experience with a language. Phonological cues were assessed via phonological typicality – an aggregate measure of the relationship between the phonology of a word and the phonology of words in the same lexical class. Experiment 1 showed that when monolingual English-speaking seven-year-olds could rely on learning by exclusion, phonological typicality only affected their initial inferences about the words. Consistent with recent computational analyses, phonological cues had stronger impact on the processing of verb-like than noun-like items. Experiment 2 revealed an impact of French on the performance of seven-year-olds in French immersion when tested in a French language environment. Thus, phonological knowledge may affect lexical categorization even in the absence of extensive experience.
Evidentials are grammatical source-of-knowledge markers. In Bulgarian they provide information about authorship – whether the speaker has personally acquired the information or not – and modality – whether perceptual or cognitive mechanisms were involved in the information's generation. In two experiments, Bulgarian kindergarteners and third-graders (ages 6 and 9, N=96) had to decide which one of two utterances containing different evidentials to believe. Experiment 1 showed that children draw on modality information in their decisions: Third-graders favored perceptual over cognitive and kindergartners cognitive over perceptual sources. Experiment 2 showed that third-graders can also draw on the authorship information carried by evidentials: they favored first- over second-hand information. The discussion focuses on understanding the development of children's use of evidentials.
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