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date: 07 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Word learning and vocabulary knowledge, although related, represent distinct constructs. The process by which a child learns new words will affect both the quantity of words learned and the quality of word representations in a child’s lexicon. Children with normal hearing experience predictable patterns of learning via the processes of triggering, configuration, and engagement. Children with hearing loss may experience, for various reasons, disruptions at all three levels. Those difficulties with the process of word learning may then lead to delays and differences in vocabulary knowledge, with cascading effects on other linguistic and academic skill development. Cultivating an understanding of how hearing loss affects not only vocabulary outcomes but also word-learning processes in children with hearing loss may provide avenues for future educational interventions that interrupt the adverse consequences of poor lexical knowledge. This chapter addresses the process of spoken word learning in children with normal hearing and the ways in which hearing loss affects this the subprocesses of triggering, configuration and engagement. The consequences of word-learning differences on other later-developing skills, such as phonological awareness, are discussed.

Keywords: hearing loss, word learning, spoken language, vocabulary, semantics

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