Word learning mechanisms

Angela Xiaoxue He, Sudha Arunachalam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

How do children acquire the meanings of words? Many word learning mechanisms have been proposed to guide learners through this challenging task. Despite the availability of rich information in the learner's linguistic and extralinguistic input, the word-learning task is insurmountable without such mechanisms for filtering through and utilizing that information. Different kinds of words, such as nouns denoting object concepts and verbs denoting event concepts, require to some extent different kinds of information and, therefore, access to different kinds of mechanisms. We review some of these mechanisms to examine the relationship between the input that is available to learners and learners’ intake of that input—that is, the organized, interpreted, and stored representations they form. We discuss how learners segment individual words from the speech stream and identify their grammatical categories, how they identify the concepts denoted by these words, and how they refine their initial representations of word meanings. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1435. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1435. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1435
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)

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