Linguistic cues are privileged over non-linguistic cues in young children’s categorization (2022)


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Cognitive Development

Volume 48,

October–December 2018

, Pages 167-175


Language affects the way that humans build categories. When two objects share a verbal label, children and adults are encouraged to group them together. In the present study, we offer a stringent test of the potency of labels by comparing them to non-linguistic cues that have been matched in terms of critical properties. In Experiment 1, Four-year-old children were given two categorization tasks with novel natural kinds and artifacts. In both tasks, we compared the effectiveness of novel Labels like zeg and equally discriminable, intentionally introduced patterned Frames. In Experiment 2, we included pretest trials before each of the tasks to ensure children’s awareness of the cues. We observed a pervasive advantage of Labels over Frames in both experiments. Our results offer some of the strongest evidence to date for the conclusion that young children prioritize labels over superficially equipotent non-linguistic cues when drawing category boundaries.

(Video) The Concept of Language (Noam Chomsky)

Section snippets

Experiment 1

Experiment 1 investigated children’s spontaneous use of linguistic and non-linguistic cues in forming novel artifact and natural kind categories.

Experiment 2

The results of Experiment 1 suggest that, by age four, children already understand that labels serve as category markers but arbitrary non-linguistic cues (patterned frames) do not. One possible concern is that, despite our efforts, frames may have appeared less intentional than the labels in our paradigm (for instance, they could have been interpreted as having no particular meaning for the experimenter). As a result, children may not have paid attention to frames, noticed that frames varied,

General discussion

In the present study, we set out to assess the role of language in young children’s category formation. Previous studies suggested that infants make use of linguistic cues to a greater extent than non-linguistic cues when forming novel categories but the properties of the two types of cues (discriminability, intentional status) were not always matched; furthermore, comparisons of labels to other cues in preschool-aged children were limited. We addressed these issues by comparing the effects of

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    What are advantages of linguistic cues? ›

    The addition of redundantly correlated linguistic cues reinforces children's learning of the links between perceptual cues and category structure. This effect was predicted by studies and models of adult category learning.

    What is a linguistic cue? ›

    The Competition model (Bates & MacWhinney, 1987) defines linguistic cues as linguistic components from all linguistic levels. They can be morphological cues, word order or semantic knowledge about the relations between objects in a sentence.

    Why linguistic features are important? ›

    Language features make it easier for you to comprehend what the author is saying. The writer often employs a variety of linguistic strategies to get his point through. Additionally, the authors employ devices like the choice of language, intonation, grammatical structures, and turns of phrase.

    What are the 3 purposes of linguistics? ›

    The informative, expressive, and directive purposes of language.

    What is cue words example? ›

    Examples of cue phrases include now, well, so, and, but, then, after all, furthermore, however, in consequence, as a matter of fact, in fact, actually, okay, alright, for example, and incidentally.

    What is an example of cue? ›

    The definition of a cue is a signal to a person to do something. An example of cue is a word in a play telling an actor when to come on stage. An example of cue is a girlfriend hinting to her boyfriend that she'd like to get married.

    How does linguistic help us in communication? ›

    Linguistics helps us understand our world

    It captures unique conceptualizations of the world and has its own ways of constructing words, phrases and sentences for communicating ideas. As we compare the words and structures of various languages, we come to a greater understanding of the world we live in.

    What is the most important for linguistic? ›

    Hence, we conclude that the Dictionary and grammar is the most important for linguists.

    Why linguistic communication is important? ›

    Language is a vital part of human connection. Although all species have their ways of communicating, humans are the only ones that have mastered cognitive language communication. Language allows us to share our ideas, thoughts, and feelings with others. It has the power to build societies, but also tear them down.

    What are the types of linguistics? ›

    What is Linguistics?
    • Phonetics - the study of speech sounds in their physical aspects.
    • Phonology - the study of speech sounds in their cognitive aspects.
    • Morphology - the study of the formation of words.
    • Syntax - the study of the formation of sentences.
    • Semantics - the study of meaning.
    • Pragmatics - the study of language use.
    4 Aug 2017

    What are the main aspect of linguistics? ›

    morphology (the structure of words) syntax (the structure of sentences) semantics (meaning) pragmatics (language in context)

    What are the five functions of linguistics? ›

    According to Finocchiaro and Brumfit, there are five types of language functions based on their place, such as; Personal, Interpersonal, Directive, Referential, and Imaginative functions.

    What are the advantages of knowing languages? ›

    6 Surprising Benefits of Learning a Language
    • Learning a new language improves your memory. ...
    • Being bilingual makes you a better multitasker. ...
    • Speaking other languages makes you a better communicator (in your native tongue too!) ...
    • Learning a language encourages creativity. ...
    • Being bilingual makes your brain bigger.

    What are the basic advantages of language? ›

    Feed Your Brain

    The many cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.

    What are the advantages of language approach? ›

    • Enhanced Problem Solving Skills.
    • Improved Verbal and Spatial Abilities.
    • Improved Memory Function (long & short-term)
    • Enhanced Creative Thinking Capacity.
    • Better Memory.
    • More Flexible and Creative Thinking.
    • Improved Attitude Toward the Target Language and Culture.

    What advantages can you gain from being instructed in three languages? ›

    As you will see, studying a second (or third) language is an investment in your future, no matter your age.
    • Increases Creativity. ...
    • Improves Your Analytical Skills. ...
    • Strengthens Your Brain Muscles. ...
    • Develops Your Native Vocabulary. ...
    • Brings School Success. ...
    • Creates Job Security. ...
    • Simplifies Foreign Communication.
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    What is the importance of language in education? ›

    Language enables students to play an active role in various communities of learners within and beyond the classroom. As students speak, write, and represent, they also listen to, read, and view the ideas and experiences of others.

    Why learning a language is important essay? ›

    Even only one language cans totally change the way of the communication, the attitude towards you and the impression which you will make in people with which you conduct a conversation. Nowadays it is like must to study and learn new languages, in terms of self development, comfort and confidence.

    How can language learning help students be more comfortable in different situations? ›

    It helps a person filter out distractions and improves creativity. 2 They get used to dealing with unfamiliar situations. They get experience dealing with unfamiliar situations and “unknown” words. 3 Students develop practical intelligence when they experience learn different cultures.

    What do you think are the positive effects of learning and studying a subject in your own native language? ›

    Learning the native language signifies learning the same history and culture of your parents, relatives, and even the generations before and after. The self-awareness that you belong to your native country gives confidence and stability.

    What are the important characteristics of language? ›

    Characteristics of Language
    • Language is verbal, vocal, Language is sound. Language is an organization of sounds, of vocal symbols, the sounds some message. ...
    • Language is a means of Communication. ...
    • Language is Social Phenomenon. ...
    • Language is non-instinctive, conventional. ...
    • Language is Arbitrary. ...
    • Language is Symbolic.

    Why is language development important in early childhood? ›

    Language development is an important part of child development. It supports your child's ability to communicate. It also supports your child's ability to: express and understand feelings.

    What does linguistic approach mean? ›

    a method of reading instruction that applies what the child already knows about language from having learned to speak it.

    How will language benefit me as a student? ›

    Improve your skills

    Learning a new language also demonstrates that you have a host of other skills. According to studies, multilinguals are better at problem-solving, more creative, and are better multitaskers. All of these skills are very attractive to any potential employer.

    What are the three most important things to consider in terms of language choices in a speech? ›

    • Appropriate for the Speaker. One of the first questions to ask yourself is whether the language you plan on using in a speech fits with your own speaking pattern. ...
    • Appropriate for the Audience. ...
    • Appropriate for the Context. ...
    • Appropriate for the Topic.

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning a foreign language at an early age? ›

    Children who learn a language at an earlier age are said to have stronger multitasking skills, creativity, and working memory. Since bilingual students have enough exposure to more than one language, they can discover word structures relatively quickly than monolinguals.


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