Early Word Learning

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  • During the first two years of life, infants begin mapping words to referents. They initially show a bias toward nouns in the early stages of word learning, and it is not until closer to 1 ½ years that infants begin to acquire a wider range of word-referent mappings (verbs and adjectives). In the absence of contextual support, such as pointing, contingent responses, or sentence (syntax) information, infants use their knowledge of the sound system to inform new mappings. When engaged in a more naturalistic word-learning situation, infants are more open to different types of forms and symbols as labels for objects. This shows the sophistication of the sound system in constraining early word-referent learning while demonstrating the power of social information in word learning.

    Infants recognize ...

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