Vocabulary Spurt

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  • The vocabulary spurt, word burst, or naming explosion (or any combination) refers to an apparent acceleration in the rate at which children acquire new words, usually between 18 and 24 months. Normative data from the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (CDI) suggests that, between 17 and 20 months, children learn about 20 new words per month, but from 21 to 24 months this increases to 46.25. While the vocabulary spurt typically refers to the specific acceleration during the second year, theoretical debates often concern the nature of acceleration in word learning more broadly.

    The vocabulary explosion is typically documented in longitudinal assessments of vocabulary size using standardized parent report measures like the CDI. It was first described by Lois Bloom and extensively documented by L. Fenson, ...

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