Slow Mapping in Lexical Development

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  • There is growing evidence that children often require considerable input and repetition to fully acquire a word—a phenomenon called slow mapping to contrast it with fast mapping. Fast mapping (also called quick incidental learning) has received considerable attention as a word-learning phenomenon. Fast mapping is defined as inferring a correct or near-correct word meaning from one or a few exposures to the word. It is considered noteworthy because inferring word meanings is theoretically a difficult, under-constrained inductive task. S. Carey and E. Bartlett first reported that young children mapped a new color word onto a novel color after hearing it just twice. Since then, dozens of studies have documented fast mapping in children age 2 and older in a handful of languages and in ...

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