Re: Over and Underextension

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Fri Jun 07 1996 - 22:06:16 BST

> From: "Jesse, K." <>
> Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 17:08:18 +0100 (BST)
> Refering to a particular item in an isolated sence but failing to refer
> to another item in the same category in that sence is an illustration of
> underextension.

Please use a spell-checker.

The above is not a definition of underextension. It would not help
kid-sib if his lunch depended on knowing what underextension was.

> Commonly used by young children, for example when a
> child calls their teddy bear Teddy but refers to other teddy bears as
> 'toy'. Another example is a child calling their special piece of
> material 'blanket' whilst calling other blankets a different name.

The example is fine; but you need a description too, not just examples.

> In contrast the use of a word which extends beyond the boundries
> of its correct usage is referred to as overextension.

That's better.

> It is more common
> in everyday language than underextension, for example hoover, bluetac
> etc. In word learning children use overextension when they
> misunderstand the name of an object by its simple chararistic. For
> example, a child is told that a car is called a car, then the child sees
> a truck which has four wheels alike a car and calls it a car.

For a higher mark, you should relate this to categorisation and language

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