There are between 4,000 and 6,000 languages remaining in the world and the characteristics of these languages vary widely. How could an infant born today master any language in the world, regardless of the language's characteristics?
By the time that students in the United States are ready for college, they know about 100,000 words (Nation & Waring, 1997). In order for children to accumulate that many words in a period of 18 years, they must learn an average of 10 words a day. This rate of word learning is nothing less than amazing. As most teenagers can attest, learning just one new word a day for a school assignment or to prepare for a standardized test (e.g., SAT [Page 118]or ACT) is a challenge. As you are reading this, you have access to your vast knowledge of words stored away in your memory. Each word that you read triggers an experience of understanding in your mind; you ...