Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Infant Artificial Language Learning

  • Elizabeth Johnson
  • Marieke van Heugten
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1055



Artificial languages are miniature languages purposely constructed by linguists and psychologists to test a specific hypothesis regarding the origins of language knowledge or language learnability. The phrase “infant artificial language learning” refers to a particular type of experimental paradigm in which infants are briefly exposed to an artificial language and then tested on their recognition of patterns or rules contained within that language. Unlike Esperanto or Klingon, the artificial languages used in infant studies are generally not designed for communicative purposes. Rather, they typically consist of a stream of carefully patterned but meaningless syllables. Due to their highly simplified nature, these artificial languages reflect only a select property (or set of properties) observed in natural languages. For example, a researcher interested in how infants start learning the sound...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Toronto at MississaugaMississaugaCanada