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Fast Mapping Verb Meaning From Argument Structure

Johnson, Valerie E. PhD, CCC-SLP

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e3181e0416d

Purpose To examine lexical knowledge in children through a fast mapping task.

Method This study compared the performance of 60 African American English–speaking and general American English–speaking children between the ages of 4 and 6 years. They were presented with a comprehension task involving the fast mapping of novel verbs in 4 different argument structures (intransitive, transitive, transfer, and complement). The fast mapping task was developed to determine how children use syntactic cues to help fix the meaning of novel verbs.

Results The results indicated that both groups of children could fast map novel verbs at a relatively equivalent level.

Conclusion The promise of fast mapping as an alternative method of measuring word knowledge in culturally and linguistically diverse populations is discussed.

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey.

Corresponding Author: Valerie E. Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043 (e-mail: johnsonv@mail.montclair.

This research was supported by the National Institution on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health (R03 DC04448-01).

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins