Event Perception and Language Development

Nathan R. George, Haruka Konishi, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek & Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Event Perception and Language Development

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  • Verbs and prepositions are the cornerstones of language, allowing people to talk about relations between objects in events. However, a wealth of research shows that learning verbs and other relational terms is difficult when compared to nouns. Imagine a parent trying to teach the verb sliding to their child while watching children play at a park. The parent locates a boy about to go down a slide and points to him saying, “Look! He's sliding!” To the parent, these actions may appear to provide a defined referent for sliding; however, the story is much more complex from the perspective of the child. For one, while objects have discrete perceptual boundaries, events are continuous. The child learning sliding must figure out that the action begins ...

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