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Bootstrapping into syntax

Prosody and function words cue the acquisition of word meanings in 18-month-old infants, demonstrates past visitor Alex de Carvalho in a recent paper for Psych Science with Jeffrey Lidz, alum Angela Xiaoxue He, and frequent collaborator in Paris, Anne Christophe. The paper reports two experiments, building on Jeff and Angela's Penguin paradigm, which show that infants interpret a novel word as referring to either an object or an action, given its position within the prosodic-syntactic structure of sentences.