Gastvortrag: Arielle Borovsky

01. Juli 2016

Beyond lexical bean counting: using semantic structure in vocabulary to understand language learning and processing.

Measures of early vocabulary growth often focus on the number of words children know and say, and this enterprise has yielded many insights into the development of early language skills. But early word growth is not random – children tend to learn words that have connections with their existing vocabulary (Hills et al. 2009). This insight suggests that mapping the structure of the early lexicon may illustrate key processes in language learning.

I will discuss ongoing work that highlights how accounting for semantic structure of early vocabulary knowledge can lend insights into language processing and word learning. I will first describe recent studies that track real-time lexical recognition of known and novel words as a function of semantic vocabulary structure. I will then outline a project to develop detailed feature norms for many early-acquired concepts that will facilitate the development of graph-theoretic metrics of early vocabulary structure and discuss potential implications for the development of vocabulary interventions and models of early language acquisition.