Is it a name or a fact? Disambiguation of reference via exclusivity and pragmatic reasoning

Journal article


Malone, Stephanie, Kalashnikova, Marina and Davis, Erin Margaret. (2016). Is it a name or a fact? Disambiguation of reference via exclusivity and pragmatic reasoning. Cognitive Science. 40, pp. 2095 - 2107. https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12321
AuthorsMalone, Stephanie, Kalashnikova, Marina and Davis, Erin Margaret
Abstract

Adults reason by exclusivity to identify the meanings of novel words. However, it is debated whether, like children, they extend this strategy to disambiguate other referential expressions (e.g., facts about objects). To further inform this debate, this study tested 41 adults on four conditions of a disambiguation task: label/label, fact/fact, label/fact, and fact/label (Scofield & Behrend, 2007). Participants also provided a verbal explanation for their referent selections to tease apart the underlying processes. Results indicated that adults successfully discerned the target object in the label/label and label/fact condition, yet not the remaining two conditions. Verbal reports indicated that the strategy utilized to disambiguate differed depending upon communicative context. These findings confirm that the tendency to reason by exclusivity becomes restricted to word-learning situations with growing linguistic and communicative experience.

Keywordsdisambiguation; pragmatics; language; word learning
Year2016
JournalCognitive Science
Journal citation40, pp. 2095 - 2107
PublisherWiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN0364-0213
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12321
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84949294491
Page range2095 - 2107
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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