LECTURE 2.2 – Lexical Development
First words begin to appear at 12 months. Then there is a naming explosion and by the age of 5
children know around 13,000 words.
Fast Mapping is the term used to describe the phenomena whereby young children can learn a
word just after a few observations.
Baby talk or motherese is characterized by a high pitched intonation and exaggerated prosodic
contours. It also typically has simpler grammar.
Research using the preferential looking procedure has shown that babies prefer listening to
motherese over standard speech.
One of the problems that babies face is the segmentation problem. This refers to the issue of
how we can identify the spaces in between, and thus segment, the words in a sentence.
Saffran conducted a study where she made up non-words that were English sounding in the
sense that they adhered to our laws of syllabic sequences and prosody. She played these words
on a tape recorder to babies in a sentence like fashion.
She did the same thing with another group of babies except with non-words that violated what
we would expect of proper English words.
The babies actually preferred listening to the non-words that sounded like English words and
could segment them.
This study and others suggests that babies learn through statistical regularities. This means that
certain syllables occur more often together than others do(frequent vs infrequent syllables).
The Gavagi Problem. How do you know if a word refers to a wh