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From sound to syntax: phonological constraints on children's lexical categorization of new words

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date11/2009
JournalJournal of Child Language
Number of pages31
Original languageEnglish


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 oil 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 I showed that when monolingual English-speaking seven-year-olds could rely oil 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.