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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Developmental differences in the effects of phonological, lexical and semantic variables on word learning by infants
Author: Holly L. Storkel
Institution: University of Kansas
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Semantics
Abstract: The influence of phonological (i.e. individual sounds), lexical (i.e. whole-word forms) and semantic (i.e. meaning) characteristics on the words known by infants age 1 ; 4 to 2 ; 6 was examined, using an existing database (Dale & Fenson, ). For each noun, word frequency, two phonological (i.e. positional segment average, biphone average), two lexical (i.e. neighborhood density, word length) and four semantic variables (i.e. semantic set size, connectivity, probability resonance, resonance strength) were computed. Regression analyses showed that more infants knew (1) words composed of low-probability sounds and sound pairs, (2) shorter words with high neighborhood density, and (3) words that were semantically related to other words, both in terms of the number and strength of semantic connections. Moreover, the effect of phonological variables was constant across age, whereas the effect of lexical and semantic variables changed across age.


This article appears IN Journal of Child Language Vol. 36, Issue 2.

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