Developmental Trends in Semantic Acquisition: Evidence from Over-Extensions in Child Language
Children aged 2 through 6 years and adults were shown a series of pictures including 'normal' referents (e.g., cat or car), and unfamiliar combination tokens (e.g., a clock with a telephone handset), which they were asked to identify. There were age-dependent differences in terms of naming (i.e., the number of words and morphemes and linguistic constructions) and criteria for category membership. The older participants used more morphemes and sophisticated linguistic strategies (e.g., descriptive phrases) than the younger participants, and the younger children showed a greater tendency to rely on holistic shape as a category determiner. These disparities suggested that the participants not only employed different strategies by age, but that they also had different criteria for categorization.
Bloomquist, Jennifer. Developmental trends in semantic acquisition: Evidence from over-extensions in child language. First Language 27.4 (October 2007), 407-420.