Lexical and semantic development

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First Words


Names for people e.g daddy, mummy,or food, humans, clothes, viechles 

Properties e.g hot, more, dirty, cold, here , there

Actions e.g up, sit, eat, go, down

Personal social words e.g hello, bye, no, yes, please

A large proportion of a childs first words refer to people or familiar objects and social interaction.

Nouns make up the largest class of words followed by verbs and then adjectives.

A child will use far more concrete nouns and between the ages of 5 and 7, the child will be able to pick up common abstract nouns.  

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Underextension is a common semantic error made by children.

It occurs when a word is given a narrower meaning than it has in adult language

An example of this is using 'cat' for the family pet but not appyling it to other cats. 

Another example is where the child has a banana and can identify the word but when shown a photo of a banana isnt able to apply the word. 

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Overextension is a feature of a childs early language 

This is where the word has a broader meaning than it should have.

Common examples include using the word 'daddy' not just for the childs father but for other men as well and using the word 'dog' for every 4 leg animal.

It occurs more often than underextension and is the main semantic error. out of 50 words, a third is overextended. 

Childrens understanding of word meanings is ahead of their ability to produce the corrosponding word.

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Labelling packaging and network building.

Atchinson identified 3 stages that occur during child language aquisition.

1) Labelling
This is the first stage and involves making a link between the sounds of particular words and the objects in which they refer to e.g understanding that mummy refers to the childs mother.

2) Packaging
This entails a words range of meaning. Underextension and overextension occur before this stage.

3) Network building
This involves grasping the connections between words and understanding that some words are the opposite in meaning e.g understanding the relationship between hypernyms and hyponyms.  

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