Events

Infants have been shown to develop expectations about the link between a word’s grammatical category and its likely meaning during the 2nd year of life (Waxman & Markow, 1995; Waxman & Booth, 2001), and their knowledge that verbs label event categories are acquired by 21‐months (Bernal et al, 2007). However, given previous studies that have shown infants’ sensitivity to the distributional features of the verb category by 15‐months (Peterson, 2006; Mintz, 2006), it is surprising that the link between verbs and events is acquired only at 21‐months. The current study, as an initial probe into the question 'when do children first establish the link between verbs and events', using a habituation‐switch paradigm, provides suggestive evidence that 18m-olds are able to map intransitive verbs to self‐propelled events. This result closely connects the initial acquisition of verbs’ distributional properties with its semantic features.