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  • Published: 25 January 2002
  • ISBN: 9780262523295
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 314
  • RRP: $59.99
Categories:

How Children Learn the Meanings of Words



How do children learn that the word "dog" refers not to all four-legged animals, and not just to Ralph, but to all members of a particular species? How do they learn the meanings of verbs like "think," adjectives like "good," and words for abstract entities such as "mortgage" and "story"? The acquisition of word meaning is one of the fundamental issues in the study of mind.According to Paul Bloom, children learn words through sophisticated cognitive abilities that exist for other purposes. These include the ability to infer others' intentions, the ability to acquire concepts, an appreciation of syntactic structure, and certain general learning and memory abilities. Although other researchers have associated word learning with some of these capacities, Bloom is the first to show how a complete explanation requires all of them. The acquisition of even simple nouns requires rich conceptual, social, and linguistic capacities interacting in complex ways.This book requires no background in psychology or linguistics and is written in a clear, engaging style. Topics include the effects of language on spatial reasoning, the origin of essentialist beliefs, and the young child's understanding of representational art. The book should appeal to general readers interested in language and cognition as well as to researchers in the field.

  • Published: 25 January 2002
  • ISBN: 9780262523295
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 314
  • RRP: $59.99
Categories:

About the author

Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale University. He is an internationally recognised expert on the psychology of language, social reasoning, morality and art. His previous books include Just Babies and How Pleasure Works, and he has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, New Yorker and the Guardian. Bloom has won several awards for his research, articles and teaching, and his ‘Introduction to Psychology’ class was one of seven selected by Yale to be made available worldwide. His TED talks have been viewed 2.8 million times.

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Praise for How Children Learn the Meanings of Words

... this book is likely to have a profound impact on the field of child language.—Anne Bezuidenhout, Metapsychology Online Review

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