Naming the living things: Linguistic, experiential and cultural factors in wichí and spanish speaking children

Andrea S. Taverna*, Nora Moscoloni, Olga A. Peralta, Douglas L. Medin, Sandra R. Waxman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This work focuses on the underlying conceptual structure of children's category of living things from a cross-cultural, cross-linguistic perspective. School-aged children (n = 129) from three Argentinean communities (rural Wichí-speaking, rural Spanishspeaking, urban Spanish-speaking) were asked to generate the names of living things. Analyses were focused on the typicality, semantic organization, and hierarchical level of the names mentioned. We identified convergences among the names generated by children in all three communities, as well as key differences: the typicality, habitats and hierarchical level of the categories mentioned varied as a function of children's language and their direct experience with the natural world. These findings provide evidence concerning the role of language, culture and experience in shaping children's folkbiological concepts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-233
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Cognition and Culture
Volume14
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 24 2014

Keywords

  • Living thing concept
  • Spanish
  • Wichí
  • cross-culture
  • cross-linguistic
  • folkbiology
  • semantic organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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