Sentence Processing Mechanisms Influence Cross-Situational Word Learning


Word learning has traditionally examined separately the role of constraints provided by the visual context (e.g. cross-situational learning) and the linguistic context (e.g. syntactic bootstrapping). We suggest that the combined investigation of these learning scenarios is important: Firstly, to determine whether cross-situational word learning applies when words are presented in sentences and, secondly, to illuminate possible interactions of linguistic and situational learning mechanisms. We conducted three experiments to examine the role of visual and linguistic contextual constraints during foreign language word learning. In particular, our studies show that, given a visual context, syntactic verb-argument constraints together with knowledge about plausible real-world action-object relations help to further enhance cross-situational word learning.

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