Lexical Development

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First Words
Large proportion of child’s first words refer to familiar people, objects and aspects of social interaction, e.g. Names, Greeting, Items, Food, Hear/Do interaction.
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Theorist: Katheriene Nelson 1973
Identified 4 Categories for first words
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Name the 4 Categories
1. Naming Things (or people) 2. Describing/ modifying things 3. Actions/ events 4. Personal/ social
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What did she find?
1. 60% of first words were nouns 2. Verbs formed the 2nd largest group (used with actions) up/down 3. Modifiers – 3rd more, my, two 4.Personal Social words came 4th
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Analysis of Childs 50 1st words
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1st words are often
proper or concrete nouns
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Children can link a word
and reference the object it describes as they can see it.
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Social and Interactive
‘quack quack’ and diminutive vocative ‘mummy’ show bridge between phonological lexical development
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form of usually a noun used to address a person
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suggests intimacy or familiarity e.g. mummy – mum
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Early vocab
contains content words (lexical words) such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. These are words that have an independent dictionary meaning.
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Function words
determiners, prepositions and auxiliary verbs have a grammatical rather than a semantic function and a required letter.
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Content Words
Mummy Dog Happy
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Function Words
An In Have The Will
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How do children require lexical items?
Some psychologists and linguists believe children acquire lexis through social interaction with their covers.
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Theorist: BF Skinner
1. Believed that children learn through imitating and copying adults. View is known as a behaviourist standpoint. 2. Believed that children were controlled into using the right language either by positive or negative reinforcement.
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Theorist: BF Skinner
3. RP could account for pragmatic development as praise is given for politeness as well as using the right language. 4. Children may put off using the wrong language by negative reinforcement: frustrated by not getting point across or denied praise
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Card 2


Theorist: Katheriene Nelson 1973


Identified 4 Categories for first words

Card 3


Name the 4 Categories


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Card 4


What did she find?


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Card 5


Analysis of Childs 50 1st words


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