Lexical Bootstrapping

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  • Lexical bootstrapping refers to the view that early lexical development is a prerequisite for the emergence of grammar. The class of theories that utilizes the concept of bootstrapping builds on the idiom of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps. Computer science first used this idiom as a metaphor to refer to a self-sustaining process in which use of one code led to the loading of a more complex code. Data supporting lexical bootstrapping shows correlations between lexical knowledge at one time point and syntactic knowledge at a later time point. Other data include behavioral genetic models as well as demonstrations that link specific lexical developments with later word learning. This data has been used to argue that the same domain-general cognitive mechanisms underlie acquisition of ...

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