Color Cognition and Language Development

Catherine Sandhofer & Mariel Kyger

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Color Cognition and Language Development

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  • There is now extensive literature on how children acquire color words—that is, words like red, green, and yellow. This research has repeatedly shown that children seem to learn color words more slowly and with more mistakes than they learn other types of words such as nouns and verbs. By age 2, young children can readily connect object words to meanings, even from a single experience of hearing a word used in context. In contrast, even with hundreds of explicit training trials, 4-year-old children still struggle with using basic color words (such as red, green, and yellow) appropriately. Children's difficulty with color word learning is puzzling because color words are frequent in language to children and because infants have been shown to perceive colors in much ...

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