Early acquisition of nouns and verbs evidence from Navajo

Dedre Gentner, Lera Boroditsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Which words do children learn earliest, and why? These questions bear on the developmental origin of language and its connection to thought. The striking dominance of nouns in early English vocabularies has led researchers to ask whether there is something special about the link between nouns and concrete objects (e.g., Gleitman, Cassidy, Papafragou, Nappa, & Trueswell, 2005; Kako, 2004; Macnamara, 1972). Gentner (1982) proposed a conceptual explanation for this early noun dominance: The mapping between words and experience is easier for nouns because of the greater perceptual learnability of their referents in children’s early experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRoutes to Language
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Honor of Melissa Bowerman
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages5-36
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781136873966
ISBN (Print)9781841697161
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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    Gentner, D., & Boroditsky, L. (2008). Early acquisition of nouns and verbs evidence from Navajo. In Routes to Language: Studies in Honor of Melissa Bowerman (pp. 5-36). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203837924-9