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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: A story about a word: does narrative presentation promote learning of a spatial preposition in German two-year-olds?
Author: Kerstin Nachtigäller
Institution: Universität Bielefeld
Author: Katharina J. Rohlfing
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://wwwhomes.uni-bielefeld.de/rohlfing/
Institution: Universität Bielefeld
Author: Karla K Mcgregor
Institution: University of Iowa
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Subject Language: German
Abstract: We trained forty German-speaking children aged 1;8–2;0 in their comprehension of UNTER [UNDER]. The target word was presented within semantically organized input in the form of a ‘narrative’ to the experimental group and within ‘unconnected speech’ to the control group. We tested children's learning by asking them to perform an UNDER-relation before, immediately after, and again one day after the training using familiarized and unfamiliarized materials. Compared to controls, the experimental group learned better and retained more. Children with advanced expressive lexicons in particular were aided in generalizing to unfamiliarized materials by the narrative presentation. This study extends our understanding of how narrations scaffold young children's enrichment of nascent word knowledge.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 40, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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