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Heather MacKenzie, Suzanne Curtin and Susan A. Graham Class matters: 12-month-olds’ word–object associations privilege content over function words Developmental Science 15

Article first published online: 29 OCT 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01166.x

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A fundamental step in learning words is the development of an association between a sound pattern and an element in the environment. Here we explore the nature of this associative ability in 12-month-olds, examining whether it is constrained to privilege particular word forms over others. Forty-eight infants were presented with sets of novel English content-like word–object pairings (e.g. fep) or novel English function-like word–object (e.g. iv) pairings until they habituated. Results indicated that infants associated novel content-like words, but not the novel function-like words, with novel objects.

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