Semantic development refers to the process of growth, occurring over time, in knowledge of the meaning-related aspects of language. Comprehension and expression of meaning are both marked by a series of age-related changes as children grow older and gain experience with language. Semantic development begins during infancy at the single-word level and later expands to the sentence and discourse level. Although the word-learning process may change with development, growth in word knowledge is not limited to any particular age range. On the contrary, research has demonstrated that vocabulary can continue to expand throughout life. This entry discusses the developmental course of vocabulary growth in typically developing children and presents several influential theoretical accounts of children’s semantic development.

Sequence of Early Development

This section traces the course ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles