Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Learning words means gaining the ability not only to understand, but also to produce identifiable word forms and use them to make reference. Focusing on the first two years of life, this chapter considers the role of isolated words as well as segmentation in word-form learning, and also the role of vocal practice for production. It reviews alternative perspectives on the origins of concepts or categories of meaning and weighs the evidence for a “vocabulary spurt” or “nominal insight.” Self-action is found to be a powerful tool for perceptual processing of word forms, understanding referential intention, and retaining episodic memories. Changes related to the maturation of brain structures documented for declarative memory in other domains provide suggestive parallels to the processes of decontextualization of word meaning and reference, while word learning itself is seen to lead to a qualitative change in the learning process.

Keywords: conceptual category, isolated word learning, referential intention, self-action, vocal production

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.