Partial color word comprehension precedes production

Katie WagnerUniversity of California, San Diego
Jill JergensUniversity of California, San Diego
David BarnerUniversity of California, San Diego


Previous studies report that children use color words in a haphazard manner before acquiring adult-like meanings. The most common explanation for this is that children struggle to abstract color as a domain of linguistic meaning, and that this results in a stage in which children produce but do not comprehend color words. However, recent evidence suggests that children’s early usage of color words is not random, and that they acquire partial but systematic meanings prior to acquiring adult-like meanings. Here we employ parent report, a color word production task and an eye-tracking comprehension task to provide further support for this conclusion and show for the first time that toddlers often acquire color word meanings even before beginning to produce them.


Partial color word comprehension precedes production (448 KB)

Back to Table of Contents