Emergentist Coalition Model of Word Learning

Jennifer Chang Damonte, Megan Johanson, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Emergentist Coalition Model of Word Learning

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  • One of the most difficult challenges that infants face is word learning. By the end of their second year of life, they move from knowing no words to being expert word learners. Several theories (e.g., the Constraints-Principles theory, the Social-Pragmatics theory, and the Associationistic view) have been proposed, each emphasizing a single factor. Even though these theories successfully explain different parts of word learning, they do not independently account for the entire word learning process. G. J. Hollich and colleagues posited the Emergentist Coalition Model (ECM), which offers a system-based, developmental model that borrows the strengths from each of the theories, weaving them together into an empirically testable model of word learning.

    The ECM takes into account both the developmental nature of language acquisition and the ...

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