The Effects of Joint Reference and Mutual Exclusivity on the Application of Whole-Object Assumption in 3-Year Olds Filipino-English Bilingual Preschool Students

Edna S. Miraflores,Rochelle Irene G. Lucas
page. 91~109 / 2015 Vol.9 No.1


This study investigated the word learning constraints 3-year old pre-school students resort to in learning a new word or label. The study tested three possible constraints specifically, the Whole Object Assumption to determine if it plays a primary role in the learning of a new word/label in young children, the Mutual Exclusivity Principle and the Joint Reference Principle to determine if these override the Whole Object Assumption in word learning. Each constraint was tested through audio-visual PowerPoint slides and these were the sources of the data for this study. Through these tests, the study found that the 3-year old respondents assign a new word/label to the whole object and not to any of its parts. A new word/label, however, is assigned to a part of the object if the object is already familiar to the respondents. They also do not apparently rely on social cues like looking or gazing in their learning of a new word/label.

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