This chapter reexamines the intriguing question of how 10-to 18-month-old infants get to know what words mean. The chapter begins with a condensed historical overview of theoretical models of word meaning acquisition, which are grouped according to major theoretical trends. The second section briey describes the Hebrew corpus that I collected almost thirty years ago and presents the system I used for data analysis. In the third and fourth sections, I summarize the main results on meaning acquisition and reiterate theoretical claims that I have been making based on my familiarity with Keren’s naturalistic data. In the last section, I discuss the old ndings with new eyes, reecting on the generalizations of my original ndings with reference to current theoretical models of word meaning acquisition. I show that present day accounts in fact make predictions that very well accord with observations that were rst reported in my doctoral dissertation. My intention is to demonstrate the value of investing that extraordinary effort into collecting a complete data set and of analyzing it at various levels of specicity. I also attempt to show that a rich child language database can be used over many years for testing competing theoretical accounts.
|Title of host publication||Routes to Language|
|Subtitle of host publication||Studies in Honor of Melissa Bowerman|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||21|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2008|