Study provides new insight into how toddlers learn verbs

April 16, 2014

Parents can help toddlers' language skills by showing them a variety of examples of different actions, according to new research from the University of Liverpool.

Previous research has shown that verbs pose particular difficulties to toddlers as they refer to actions rather than objects, and actions are often different each time a child sees them.

To find out more about this area of child language, University psychologists asked a group of toddlers to watch one of two short videos. They then examined whether watching a cartoon star repeat the same action, compared to a character performing three different actions, affected the children's understanding of verbs.

Developmental psychologist, Dr Katherine Twomey, said: "Knowledge of how children start to learn language is important to our understanding of how they progress throughout preschool and school years.

"This is the first study to indicate that showing toddlers similar but, importantly, not identical actions actually helped them understand what a verb refers to, instead of confusing them as you might expect."

Dr Jessica Horst from the University of Sussex who collaborated on the research added: "It is a crucial first step in understanding how what children see affects how they learn verbs and action categories, and provides the groundwork for future studies to examine in more detail exactly what kinds of variability affect how children learn words."
-end-
The research is published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology by The British Psychological Society and Wiley.

The full paper is available here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjdp.12042/abstract

University of Liverpool

Related Language Skills Articles from Brightsurf:

Lego builds anaesthesia skills according to new study
Lego could be used as a practical tool to train doctors in anaesthetic skills according to new research that has shown a simple task using the building bricks can help improve technical skills - a finding that could improve medical training and patient safety.

Behavioral intervention, not lovastatin, improves language skills in youth with fragile X
A UC Davis Health study found more evidence for the efficacy of telehealth-delivered behavioral intervention in treating language problems in youth with fragile X syndrome.

Associations between screen use, language skills
Researchers combined the results of 42 studies in this analysis to examine associations between the quantity, quality and onset of screen use by children and language skills.

How language proficiency correlates with cognitive skills
An international team of researchers carried out an experiment at HSE University demonstrating that knowledge of several languages can improve the performance of the human brain.

Sleep linked to language skills in neurodevelopmental disorders
New research has discovered that Down's syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and Williams syndrome are all linked to sleep disruption in very young children, and that sleep plays a crucial role in the development of these children's language skills.

How coworkers impact the value of your skills
New research by Harvard's Growth Lab uncovers the importance of teams and coworkers in shaping productivity, earning potential, and stays of employment.

New research quantifies how much speakers' first language affects learning a new language
Linguistic research suggests that accents are strongly shaped by the speaker's first language they learned growing up.

Children's language skills may be harmed by social hardship
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are three times more likely to develop difficulties with language than those from more affluent areas, research suggests.

Poor motor skills predict long-term language impairments for children with autism
Fine motor skills - used for eating, writing and buttoning clothing - may be a strong predictor for identifying whether children with autism are at risk for long-term language disabilities, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Study finds dramatic differences in tests assessing preschoolers' language skills
Researchers examined the impact of preterm birth on language outcomes in preschoolers born preterm and full-term, using both standardized assessment and language sample analysis.

Read More: Language Skills News and Language Skills Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.