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Korean Children Use Case Markers to Learn the Meanings of Novel Nouns

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2010, 23(1), pp.103-117
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

Yoon-ha Lee 1 Hyun Joo SONG 1

1연세대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In Korean, some spatial terms, including wui [on], an [in] are lexicalized as nouns which are typically marked with locative case markers such as “-ey.” We examined whether Korean 3- and 4-year-olds interpret novel nouns followed by “-ey” as referring to spatial relations. During familiarization, the children watched the videos of spatial relations between 2 objects and heard sentences including novel nouns following either a locative case marker ‘ey’ or a nominative case marker ‘ka.’ During test, children saw either a scene about novel spatial relations between the same objects(object match) or a scene about the same spatial relations between a new object and the same background object(location match). They were asked to choose an event including the referent of the novel nouns. Four-year-olds more often chose the location match when the novel word was followed by the locative case marker. Three-year-olds showed the same pattern only when there was an additional phase in which positive and negative examples of the novel word referent were contrasted.. These results suggest that Korean 3- and 4-year-olds use morphological cues when figuring out the meaning of nouns.

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