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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

At the dawn of the cognitive revolution in 20th-century psychology and linguistics, Roger Brown (1925–97) described a simple scenario of children’s word learning which he called the ‘Original Word Game.’ While the contours of the Original Word Game conform to a general view of early word learning similar to those described by St Augustine, John Locke, Lev Vygotsky, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the philosopher W. V. O. Quine, Brown’s approach to early language development reveals a double-barrelled psychologist’s sensitivity to the child’s thinking process and a linguist’s awareness of language-specific speech perception. Indeed, in many respects, Brown can lay claim to being the first developmental psycholinguist. An appreciation of his concerns, as revealed through the Original Word Game, provides historical depth to much of today’s child language research but also a future trajectory for laboratory experiments in infant speech perception.

Keywords: Roger Brown, Original Word Game, word learning, language development, infant speech perception

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