Two-year-olds can begin to acquire verb meanings in socially impoverished contexts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By two years of age, toddlers are adept at recruiting social, observational, and linguistic cues to discover the meanings of words. Here, we ask how they fare in impoverished contexts in which linguistic cues are provided, but no social or visual information is available. Novel verbs are presented in a stream of syntactically informative sentences, but the sentences are not embedded in a social context, and no visual access to the verb's referent is provided until the test phase. The results provide insight into how toddlers may benefit from overhearing contexts in which they are not directly attending to the ambient speech, and in which no conversational context, visual referent, or child-directed conversation is available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-573
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Language acquisition
  • Syntactic bootstrapping
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Two-year-olds can begin to acquire verb meanings in socially impoverished contexts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this