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Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition

2. Vocabulary

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this lecture, we think about learn the meaning of new words, focusing in particular on: (i) the difficulty of determining the meaning of words: W. V. Quine’s example of the word “gavagai” uttered by a native speaker of an unknown language upon seeing a rabbit – does “gavagai” mean ‘rabbit’, ‘food’, ‘running’?; (ii) the view that children must have certain biases or assumptions that enable them to hone in on the correct meaning of the word – the whole object assumption, the mutual exclusivity assumption, and the taxonomic assumption; (iii) studies demonstrating each of these assumptions; (iv) examples where these assumptions do not hold, e.g. the fact that children will readily apply different words to the same object (‘dog’, ‘pet’, ‘animal’, ‘friend’); (v) the social-pragmatic theory of word learning, and the concepts of ‘joint attention’ and ‘communicative intention’; and (vi) studies demonstrating each of these concepts, especially the work of D. A. Baldwin.

Course

In this course, Professor Ben Ambridge (University of Liverpool) explores childhood language acquisition. In the first lecture, we explore how children learn to distinguish the basic sounds (phonemes) that make up their mother tongue. In the second lecture, we think about how children learn new words. In the third lecture, we explore how children learn the rules of morphology and how we can test for that understanding. Next, we think about how children learn the rules of syntax. In the fifth and final lecture, we review a general timeline of child language acquisition from the middle of the second trimester to five years old.

Lecturer

Professor Ben Ambridge is Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool. His research focuses on children's first language acquisition, mostly using judgment and production methodologies. He is particularly interested in children's errors involving question formation (e.g., *What he doesn't like?) and verb argument structure overgeneralisation errors (e.g., *The joked giggled him; *I falled over). One of Professor Ambridge’s recent publications is ‘Syntactic representations contain semantic information: Evidence from Balinese passives’ (2022), and he is also the author of the popular science book Psy-Q, Are You Smarter than a Chimpanzee? (2014).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Ambridge, B. (2021, January 05). Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition - Vocabulary [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition/vocabulary

MLA style

Ambridge, B. "Cognition and Development – Child Language Acquisition – Vocabulary." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Jan 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/child-language-acquisition/vocabulary

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