Understanding how linguistic cues map to the environment is crucial for early language comprehension and may provide a way for bootstrapping and learning words. Research has suggested that learning how plural syntax maps to the perceptual environment may show a trajectory in which children first learn surrounding cues (verbs, modifiers) before a full mastery of the noun morpheme alone. The Spanish plural system of simple codas, dominated by one allomorph -s, and with redundant agreement markers, may facilitate early understanding of how plural linguistic cues map to novel referents. Two-year-old Mexican children correctly identified multiple novel object referents when multiple verbal cues in a phrase indicated plurality as well as in instances when the noun morphology in novel nouns was the only indicator of plurality. These results demonstrate Spanish-speaking children's ability to use plural noun inflectional morphology to infer novel word referents which may have implications for their word learning.
|Journal||Journal of Child Language|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2014|