Changing Signs : Testing How Sound-Symbolism Supports Early Word Learning

Brand, James Liam and Monaghan, Padraic John and Walker, Peter (2018) Changing Signs : Testing How Sound-Symbolism Supports Early Word Learning. In: 40th annual Cognitive Science Society Meeting, 2018-07-25 - 2018-07-28.

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Learning a language involves learning how to map specific forms onto their associated meanings. Such mappings can utilise arbitrariness and non-arbitrariness, yet, our understanding of how these two systems operate at different stages of vocabulary development is still not fully understood. The Sound-Symbolism Bootstrapping Hypothesis (SSBH) proposes that sound-symbolism is essential for word learning to commence, but empirical evidence of exactly how sound symbolism influences language learning is still sparse. It may be the case that sound-symbolism supports acquisition of categories of meaning, or that it enables acquisition of individualized word meanings. In two Experiments where participants learned form-meaning mappings from either sound-symbolic or arbitrary languages, we demonstrate the changing roles of sound-symbolism and arbitrariness for different vocabulary sizes, showing that sound-symbolism provides an advantage for learning of broad categories, which may then transfer to support learning individual words, whereas an arbitrary language impedes acquisition of categories of sound to meaning.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
40th annual Cognitive Science Society Meeting
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? sound-symbolismlanguage learningvocabulary developmentword learningexperimental and cognitive psychology ??
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Deposited On:
16 May 2018 13:42
Last Modified:
15 Jan 2024 00:30