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Grammatical gender and observational word learning: useful addition or useless information?

Uithof, Floris (2019) Grammatical gender and observational word learning: useful addition or useless information? Bachelor's Thesis, Artificial Intelligence.


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This research investigated whether including grammatical gender information helps in word learning for children and adults. Previous research with adults showed that word learning improved when the target picture belonged to a consistent semantic category (Dautriche and Chemla, 2014). This made us wonder: would including extra linguistic context, like grammatical gender information, also improve learning? We extended an observational word-learning task by Woodard, Gleitman and Trueswell (2016) into a 2x2x2 between-subjects design. Participants had to match one of three unknown animals with an unknown name on 2 separate presentation, with some filler trials in between. We looked into the effects of age (preschool children versus adults), the article that was used in the sound files (Dutch definite (‘de’/’het’) versus indefinite article (‘een’)) and the target picture during the second presentation (the picture matched with the name during the first presentation versus one of the other two pictures from the first presentation) on performance. We found that for children and adults, participants didn’t perform better when grammatical gender was added. However, similar to Woodard et al. (2016), showing the same picture on the second presentation did have a significant, positive effect. Furthermore, the adult participants performed significantly better than the child participants.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor nameSupervisor E mail
Degree programme: Artificial Intelligence
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2019
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2019 13:17

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