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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Children's understanding of homonymy: metalinguistic awareness and false belief
Authors: Doherty, Martin
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Doherty M (2000) Children's understanding of homonymy: metalinguistic awareness and false belief, Journal of Child Language, 27 (2), pp. 367-392.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to explain why children have difficulty with homonymy. Two experiments were conducted with forty-eight children (Experiment 1) and twenty-four children (Experiment 2). Three- and four-year-old children had to either select or judge another person's selection of a different object with the same name, avoiding identical objects and misnomers. Older children were successful, but despite possessing the necessary vocabulary, younger children failed these tasks. Understanding of homonymy was strongly and significantly associated to understanding of synonymy, and more importantly, understanding of false belief, even when verbal mental age, chronological age, and control measures were partialled out. This indicates that children's ability to understand homonymy results from their ability to make a distinction characteristic of representation, a distinction fundamental to both metalinguistic awareness and theory of mind.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: Published in Journal of child language. Copyright: Cambridge University Press.
Affiliation: Psychology

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