The Acquisition of the Lexicon

Overview

Between the ages of eighteen months and six years, children acquire about eight words each day without specific instruction or correction, simply through the course of natural conversational interactions. This book brings together investigations from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (with an emphasis on linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computer science) to examine how young children acquire the vocabulary of their native tongue with such rapidity, and with virtually no errors along the way. The chapters ...

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Overview

Between the ages of eighteen months and six years, children acquire about eight words each day without specific instruction or correction, simply through the course of natural conversational interactions. This book brings together investigations from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (with an emphasis on linguistics, psycholinguistics, and computer science) to examine how young children acquire the vocabulary of their native tongue with such rapidity, and with virtually no errors along the way. The chapters discuss a number of issues relating to the child's mental representation of objects and events on the one hand, and of the linguistic input on the other; and the learning procedures that can accept such data to build, store, and manipulate the vocabulary of 100,000 words or so that constitute the adult state. Taken together, these essays provide a state-of-the art analysis of one of the most remarkable cognitive achievements of the human infant.

Contributors:

- Part I. The Nature of the Mental
Lexicon. Edwin Williams. Beth Levin.- Part II. Discovering the Word Units. Anne Cutler. Michael H.
Kelly and Susanne Martin.- Part III. Categorizing the World. Susan Carey. Frank C. Keil.- Part IV.
Categories, Words, and Language. Ellen M. Markman. Sandra A. Waxman. Barbara Landau. Paul Bloom.-
Part V. The Case of Verbs. Cynthia Fischer, D. Geoffrey Hall, Susan Rakowitz, and Lila Gleitman.
Steven Pinker. Jane Grimshaw.- Part VI. Procedures for Verb Learning. Michael R. Brent. Mark
Steedman.

The MIT Press

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
During the past decade, linguistic inquiry has shown that the lexicon is more highly structured than heretofore thought; moreover, that much of grammar turns on critical--and universal--links between syntactic and lexical-semantic phenomena. This volume brings together psychologists, computer scientists, and linguists whose joint concern is the lexicon and its acquisition. The 15 essays are divided into six sections: the nature of the mental lexicon; discovering the word units; categorizing the world; categories, words, and language; the case of verbs; and procedures for verb learning. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262571098
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/13/1994
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 500
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Sect. 1 Nature of the mental lexicon
Remarks on lexical knowledge 7
A preliminary analysis of causative verbs in English 35
Sect. 2 Discovering the word units
Segmentation problems, rhythmic solutions 81
Domain-general abilities applied to domain-specific tasks: Sensitivity to probabilities in perception, cognition, and language 105
Sect. 3 Categorizing the world
Does learning a language require the child to reconceptualize the world? 143
Explanation, association, and the acquisition of word meaning 169
Sect. 4 Categories, words, and language
Constraints on word meaning in early language acquisition 199
The development of an appreciation of specific linkages between linguistic and conceptual organization 229
Where's what and what's where: The language of objects in space 259
Possible names: The role of syntax-semantics mappings in the acquisition of nominals 297
Sect. 5 The case of verbs
When it is better to receive than to give: Syntactic and conceptual constraints on vocabulary growth 333
How could a child use verb syntax to learn verb semantics? 377
Lexical reconciliation 411
Sect. 6 Procedures for verb learning
Surface cues and robust inference as a basis for the early acquisition of subcategorization frames 433
Acquisition of verb categories 471
Index 481
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