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Numerical Cognition and Language Development

The term numerical cognition refers to the knowledge and mental representation of number words, of numerical quantities, both discrete (integers) and continuous (real numbers), and of the systemic relations encoded in basic principles of arithmetic. Number words are words. And so, like any other words, they must be learned by a process of mapping form to meaning. In addition, children must learn the appropriate syntactic-distributional properties so that they are used appropriately and grammatically. Children must also learn how the meanings of the constituents of numerical constructions combine to form holistic constructional meanings based on phrasal-level meaning and pragmatic inference.

With regard to the syntactic distributional properties, number words are in the category of quantifier, which share syntactic properties of determiners, adjectives, pronouns, and nouns. In ...

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