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Languages 2017, 2(1), 2;

Multimodal Cue Competition in Adults’ Novel Verb Generalization

Department of Linguistics, University of Colorado Boulder, Hellems 290, 295 UCB, 80309 Boulder, CO, USA
Academic Editor: Usha Lakshmanan
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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In addition to identifying the referents of novel words, language learners also have to learn to generalize newly acquired words to the appropriate range of referents. Here we ask: what is the relative importance of visual, auditory, and linguistic information in influencing how adult learners generalize newly acquired verbs to novel contexts? In our study, participants learned two novel verbs associated with distinct auditory, visual, and linguistic cues. Then they labeled unfamiliar events in which each cue was either presented in isolation or placed in conflict with other cues. Participants’ production of the verb associated with each cue when in conflict with other cues was assessed relative to their baseline tendency to produce the verb associated with each cue presented in isolation. Findings show that visual cues dominate over linguistic and auditory cues in influencing participants’ verb extension patterns. In contrast, participants are rarely influenced by auditory or linguistic cues when they are placed in conflict with the other cue types. Our findings suggest that any account of word learning needs to factor in the dynamics of how multimodal cues interact to drive attention during word extension. View Full-Text
Keywords: multimodal; cue competition; word learning; verb; generalization; language acquisition multimodal; cue competition; word learning; verb; generalization; language acquisition

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Narasimhan, B. Multimodal Cue Competition in Adults’ Novel Verb Generalization. Languages 2017, 2, 2.

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